US city votes to pay ransomware demand

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Ransomware can bring even the largest organizations to a halt and the same can be said for local governments whose systems have been infected. However, one city in Florida is preparing to pay hackers $600k in bitcoin in the hope of having its systems restored.

The city of Riviera Beach was infected with ransomware several weeks ago when a police department employee opened a malicious email which allowed hackers to inject the city's network with malware.

To regain access to its encrypted records, the city council has now voted to pay the ransom though there is no actual guarantee that the cybercriminals behind the attack will keep up their end of the deal.

Fallout of the attack

In addition to having its files locked down, Riviera Beach also lost access to its email network and the city was forced to pay employees and contractors by check instead of by direct deposit. Surprisingly, the ransomware also made it so 911 dispatchers were unable to enter calls into their systems but according to the city, there was no delay in response time.

Riviera Beach was urged by security consultants to pay the ransom despite the risk that the hackers might not actually restore its systems and files. Luckily though, the city's insurance provider said it would cover the $600k payment.

The city also voted recently to spend $941k to replace all of its computers and other hardware after hackers took over its systems on May 29.

Riviera Beach is not the first city to give in to cybercriminals' demands though others have declined to do so as was the case with Baltimore which refused to pay $76k in bitcoin but ultimately ended up paying $18m to deal with the fallout from the attack.

Via Engadget

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.