According to a 19 June report of the New York Times, the city council of the Riviera Beach has agreed to pay something around 600,000 dollars to hackers, in the form of BTC. On 29 May, the city in Florida was witness to a dangerous hacking attack on the government computer system. The attack was initiated by an email attachment containing the virus, which was accidentally opened by an employee of the city’s police department.
The hackers are alleged to have encrypted government records, which blocked access to critical databases of the government, adversely affecting the working of several government bodies. Moreover, the city was unable, as a result of the attack, to receive payments for utilities in any form other than cash and through the post.
A Heavy Ransom
One of the city’s spokespersons Rose Ann Brown stated that the city had to spend a hefty sum of $900,000 on new computer software. Apart from this, in order to retrieve the data which will allow the city to get its systems back online, the city council has decided to unanimously pay 65 BTC which is equivalent to nearly 600,000 dollars.
The payment of the ransom, however, will be without a guarantee of whether the hackers will be returning the data, as per their promise. For cities with small technology budgets, these kinds of attacks can not only become more common but also start posing a major existential threat.
Rise in Attacks
A 90% rise in the Bitcoin Ransomware demand had been reported in the first quarter of the year 2019. The ransomware attacks are not only becoming more frequent but also more lethal, as they are able to locate and penetrate more centralized and crucial sources of data. The association of such attacks with other criminal activities is making them more dangerous. Needless to say, the solution needs to be figured out fast.