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Newfields experienced computer "disruption" that prompted investigation

Newfields, located at 38th and North Michigan Road, is home to an art museum, gardens, a nature park and the Lilly House.
Posted at 3:07 PM, Jul 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-18 15:07:00-04

INDIANAPOLIS—Newfields says it recently experienced a “disruption” to some of its computer systems.

“In an abundance of caution, we immediately took the systems offline for a period while we investigated further,” said Natalya Herndon, Public Relations Manager for Newfields in a 7/18 email to WRTV. “Anyone who may have been impacted has already been notified.”

Newfields, located at West 38th Street and North Michigan Road, is home to an art museum, gardens, a nature park and the Lilly House.

Newfields employs more than 300 employees, interns and fellows, according to its website.

In an email to Newfields on July 13, WRTV Investigates asked the following questions that have not yet been answered.

· Has law enforcement been notified?

· Can you say whether customer and/or employee data has been compromised?

Herndon said the disruption happened more than a month ago, but did not give an exact date.

WRTV Investigates sent a follow up email on 7/18 asking Newfields additional questions including:

· What exactly is a “disruption?

· Was a 3rd party involved?

· Was any data lost?

· What is the current status of Newfields’ records?

· Can you say whether customer and/or employee data has been compromised?

· Has law enforcement been notified?

Cybersecurity incidents are on the rise among government agencies and private companies.

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Last week, the Identity Theft Resource Center released a report showing a 114 increase in publicly-reported data compromises.

According to the H1 2023 Data Breach Report, there were 951 publicly-reported data compromises in the Quarter, a 114 percent increase compared to the previous Quarter (445 compromises).

It is the most breaches the ITRC has tracked in a single quarter.

“Through the first half of the year, the ITRC has tracked 1,393 compromises, higher than the total compromises reported every year between 2005 and 2020 except for 2017,” according to the report. “This puts 2023 on pace to set a record for the number of data compromises in a year, passing the all-time high of 1,862 compromises in 2021.”

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Herb Stapleton, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis field office, told WRTV last year the FBI can stop ransom payments from getting to criminals if they are notified quickly.

“Trying to go after the money, and then to target the actual infrastructure that these individuals use,” said Stapleton in 2022. “What we are trying to do from an investigative standpoint is go after the key services that create an environment in which ransomware can happen. That means targeting the people who are responsible for gaining access to these networks, that can mean targeting the funds or proceeds of this kind of illicit activity.”

But it’s not easy to find the cybercriminals and prosecute them.

“It takes an extraordinary amount of investigative work,” said Stapleton. “Once we identify who they are, there’s a whole new set of challenges as we identify where they are. As you can imagine, many of these criminals live in countries that don't cooperate with the United States."

A lot of cyber attacks originate from Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.