Florida city to pay $600,000 to ransomware gang
The city council of Riviera Beach, Florida, have voted unanimously to pay more than $600,000 in Bitcoins to a ransomware gang who had held its computer systems hostage for three weeks.
The ransomware spread throughout the city’s computer network, after an employee clicked on a malicious link in an email.
“Ransomware is commonly delivered through phishing emails or via ‘drive-by downloads,'” according to Homeland Security. “Phishing emails often appear as though they have been sent from a legitimate organization or someone known to the victim and entice the user to click on a malicious link or open a malicious attachment.”
The attack has locked all files and shut down all the city’s services. Operations have been down ever since, with the exception of 911 services, which were able to continue to operate, although limited.
According to the Palm Beach Post’s report the ransomware affected the city’s email, 911 calls couldn’t enter into computer records, and systems that controlled the water utility were offline.
The city council first decided to resolve the issue by paying $941,000 for new computers, but now they have decided to pay the ransom.
The amount of money would be paid from the city’s insurer, although it’s unclear wether hackers will decrypt the locked files afterward or not.
The city council refused to comment.