U.S. city votes to pay ransomware demand

U.S. city votes to pay ransomware demand
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Original Source: Click Lancashire Independent News

Article URL: http://clicklancashire.com/2019/06/23/u-s-city-votes-to-pay-ransomware-demand.h…

This article originally appeared in Click Lancashire Independent News on June 23, 2019.

After three long weeks, the Riviera Beach City Council decided they don’t have a choice but to pay the sum, in order for the hackers to release the encrypted records. Riviera Seashore furthermore voted earlier this month to utilize $941,000 to replace its computer systems and loads of hardware after the hackers took over on Might perchance neutral twenty ninth.

Ironically, the city – known to leave no stone unturned when it comes to taking up-to-date cybersecurity measures – apparently fell trap to a malicious activity when an employee clicked on an email containing malware.

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. The metropolis says there was once no extend in response time despite the technological barrier.

A city spokeswoman told the AP that paying the ransom was recommended by outside consultants, even though there is no guarantee the hackers will release city records. The payment is being covered by insurance. The malware quickly spread to Riviera Beach’s government IT systems and took them all offline. While it is possible to trace bitcoins as they are spent, the owners of the accounts aren’t necessarily known, making it a favored payment method in ransomware attacks. According to experts, the damage amounted to $18 million.

In May 2019, a similar attack was directed at the computers of the Baltimore government. Criminals promise to send a code to decrypt after receiving payment.

The federal government past year also accused a North Korean programmer of committing the “WannaCry” attack that infected government, bank, factory and hospital computers in 150 countries. He also remains in his home country.

As per reports about the incident in question, the city’s authorities have been hit hard by the attack as all of the city’s online operations have been disrupted as a result of the ransomware. Some of those were against individuals.

Usman Rahim, a digital security and operations manager at The Media Trust, said that all businesses need to back up their data and train their employees on how to avoid cyber attacks, as these attacks are becoming more prominent. Attacking organizations gives them more bang for their buck than attacking consumers.

He said in nearly all cases, the attackers decrypt the computers after payment, allowing the victims to retrieve their data.

Some private WannaCry decryption attempts were successful.