A Florida city agreed to pay $600,000 in ransom to hackers who took over its computer system, the latest in thousands of attacks worldwide aimed at extorting money from governments and businesses.
Besides agreeing to pay the ransom, the city council voted earlier to pay $900,000 to buy new computers and equipment, according to news reports.
Officials investigating the attack, which include those from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security, have not identified the type of malware that disabled Riviera Beach's systems.
Riviera Beach city has made a decision to pay a ransomware fee of 65 BTC to get the city's computer systems back online.
The incident is just the latest in a long line of successful ransomware attacks targeting United States cities. Some systems in Baltimore, which has not paid a demanded $75,000 ransom, are still down.
The city's website, email server, billing system, and everything else has been down ever since, with all city communications being done in person, over the telephone, or via posters.
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Emergency services were impacted as the police and fire departments had to manually write down 911 calls, of which the city receives roughly 280 per day.
The New York Times reported that the hackers demanded their ransom in bitcoin.
In response, Baltimore Mayor Jack Young said that the city officials are "well into the restorative process" and "engaged leading industry cybersecurity experts who are on-site 27-7 working with us". U.S. law enforcement agencies often recommend that ransomware victims don't pay hackers, pointing out that there's no guarantee hackers will comply and that payments encourage cybercriminals to strike again.
Liska said that while most ransomware that finds entry via phishing attacks stops at a single system, Ryuk attempts to propagate across the entire enterprise.
The payment will come from the city's insurer, though it's still unclear if the hackers will decrypt the locked files afterward.
Phone service was lost for the city council of Riviera Beach, in addition to email.