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INDIANAPOLIS — An organization that helps Indianapolis city residents with housing costs was hacked this week.

The Indianapolis Housing Authority says they were the victim of a ransomware attack in which the hackers stole the personal data of many Indy city residents and demanded cash payment for the return of that data.

“We have been working closely alongside our internal IT teams and external IT consultants, and we have sought the help of forensics experts to help us address this issue,” the IHA said in a statement. “IHA has also engaged law enforcement, working to identify those involved.”

“When we first learned about the breach, we contacted IHA and made sure they were ramping up and scaling up the technological expertise that they need to protect the data that may be subject to compromise,” said Indy Mayor Joe Hogsett on WISH-TV.

Experts say the IHA can do what it can, but it will be difficult for law enforcement to track down where the ransomware attack came from.

“There’s no guarantee of how quickly you’ll find these people,” said IU computer science professor Apu Kapadia. “You know, when it comes to hackers on the Internet they could be in a completely different country.”

Kapadia thinks the ransomware attack could have been the product of a phishing attack where the hackers send an email that looks legit but when clicked on by the receiver it triggers a hack.

The attack has made it hard for people needing assistance with rent and housing payments to get the help they need. The authority says it’s working with its bank and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to make sure landlords and vendors are paid.