Florida City pays $600,000 to hackers for a ransomware attack

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In a first of its kind big payment made to those spreading ransomware in this year on an official note, leaders of a Florida City have decided to pay $600,000 to hackers in order to decrypt their city’s computer systems.

Although the law enforcement agencies like FBI discourages such practice, the chief of Riviera Beach, a minute city housing 35,000 people decided to bow down to the demands of hackers in order to free up data which was never backed up to restore at the time of disaster.

Going into the facts, on Monday this week, the city council made an emergency meeting in which it has unanimously decided to pay 65 Bitcoins or $592,000 to hackers. The objective of making the payment was to regain access to the encrypted data which remained inaccessible since May last week.

Rose Anne Brown, the Florida City’s spokeswoman agreed to the news of paying the ransom but did not disclose any financial details of the settlement. Ms. Brown also stressed on the fact that the authorities were working with a third party and the law enforcement to sort the matter at the earliest- wonder what is the use of such work in partnership?

“As the ransomware attacks have become sophisticatedly complex and continue to increase, most of the victims are showing more interest in paying the ransom rather than exploring other options”, says Holger Schultz, the CEO, and Founder of Cybersecurity Insiders.

But Mr. Schultz emphasized on the fact that there is no assurance that the hackers are going to decrypt the Information system after payment and will never demand more.

Note 1- The Riviera Beach Ransomware attack began on May 29 and the network intrusion was identified by the IT staff the next day. The city’s digital systems including email, phones, water utilities pump station related transactions are all halted.

Note 2- On June 4th, 2019 an official statement released by the city said that new hardware will be purchased to replace the infected systems at an expense of $900,000. About a 3rd of the said cost is said to be borne by an unnamed insurance company.