01:00 GMT02 April 2020
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    The National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) suspended work with the company after its IT systems were the target of what the company described as a “sophisticated” ransomware virus at the beginning of June.

    The largest forensic services firm in the UK, has likely been forced to pay a ransom to hackers following a cyber-attack, according to the BBC.

    Eurofins Scientific is a major forensic service provider for the British police. As well as offices all over the world, the company offers computer forensics, DNA testing, toxicology reports, and even firearms testing, for police forces across the country.

    The hackers used a ransomware virus, which shuts down a computer system and sends messages demanding payment in order to unblock the restricted system.

    The ransom is likely to have been paid after 10 June, following a statement released by Eurofins detailing the incident.

    On June 24 the company confirmed that it had "identified the variant of the malware used" during the hack and had reinforced its online protections – indicating that it had indeed paid the ransom.

    The company admitted "the impact of this attack on our financial results may unfortunately be material".

    Despite previously describing the attack as "well-resourced" Eurofins have confirmed that their servers are now up and running and "returning to normal".

    The National Crime Agency (NCA), who are overseeing the investigation said it was "a matter for the victim" to release specifics regarding the ransom paid.

    Eurofins told the BBC that they are working closely with "cyber-security experts" to secure systems and add "enhanced security measures".

    "The investigations conducted so far by our internal and external IT forensics experts have not found evidence of any unauthorised theft or transfer of confidential client data." they added.

    Submissions of samples for forensic testing from UK police agencies have not yet resumed but Eurofin are working to ensure that their systems are secure enough to recommence work.

    The hack also led to a delay in court hearings due to blood samples which were necessary for DNA testing being sent to the wrong destination.

    The Crown Prosecution Service confirmed that any case which does not include forensic evidence as a major factor will "continue as usual".

    "We are working to make sure all hearings remain fair and based on reliable evidence. While investigations are ongoing, prosecutors will assess the impact on a case by case basis.” they said.

    There have been a trend of forensic science difficulties for the police since they began outsourcing forensic services to private companies in and the governments Forensic Science Service closed in 2012.

    Key Forensic Services (KFS) folded in 2018 and a criminal investigation was launched into Randox Testing the same year.

    forensics, police, hacking, Cybercrime
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