Ransomware gangs have increasingly been going after cities with less than perfect data security protections. They hack the city’s systems and hold its data hostage. A ransom is then demanded which most cities end up paying because it becomes very difficult for them to operate without access to the data. The same has happened to a Florida city which paid $600,000 to a ransomware gang just to get its files back.
CBS News reports that the The Riviera Beach City Council voted to pay the ransom unanimously as it believed that there was no other option to get the data back which had been encrypted by the hackers. The city’s data was hacked three weeks ago and the council has now voted to spend an additional $1 million on new computers and hardware.
The city’s data had been hacked since May 29th when one of the employees of the police department opened an email which allowed the ransomware to spread across the entire network. All of the files were locked and the city’s services were shut down. This included the city’s email server, billing system, website, etc.
An expense of $941,000 was authorized by the city officials earlier this month to acquire 310 new desktops and 90 laptops in addition to other hardware to rebuild the IT infrastructure. While they didn’t plan on paying the ransom, it became evident to them that there was no other way to get the data back. Officials then met this week and unanimously voted to pay the ransom of 65 bitcoins which is roughly $600,000.