Hackers have increasingly been targeting cities in the United States with ransomware. They comprise the city’s systems and hold their data hostage. In most cases, the cities decide to pay up because it becomes difficult for them to function without their data. Another Florida town has now paid $500,000 in ransom to hackers.
The coastal suburb of Riviera Beach came under attack recently with hackers locking municipal staff out of important files. They were then forced to pay $600,000 in ransom to gain access to their files again.
Officials in Lake City, Florida found themselves in a similar situation. They ultimately voted to pay the hackers around $500,000 in Bitcoin after their systems were kept offline for two weeks with ransomware. IT staff at Lake City did disconnect staff computers within minutes of the attack being detected but it was already too late by then. The ransomware locked staff out of their email accounts while residents could no longer make municipal payments online.
The hackers contacted the town’s insurer and then negotiated a ransom payment of 42 bitcoins which equals around $500,000. The officials were of the view that paying the ransom was the most efficient way of gaining access to their systems. Mayor Stephen Witt told the media that the bulk of the ransom would be covered by insurance while only $10,000 would be incurred by taxpayers.
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