Florida Municipality Suffers Cyber Extortion

In May this year the city of Riviera Beach in Florida (pop. 35,000) municipal computer systems went down because of a phishing email that an employee opened, releasing  hacking malware.  Since then the City Council have had no email use or payment options.

This successful attack follows the on suffered by the much larger US City of Atlanta in March 2018. Now the City’s Riviera Beach City Council has now confirmed that it will pay 65 Bitcoins, or around $600k, ransom to get the city’s computer system working and back online and they hope to be given back their encrypted records.

A special council met on Monday evening 17th June and voted to agree that the city’s insurance provider should pay the ransom. Florida’s Police are investigating the phishing and hack.Of course having paid the ransom there is no guarantee that they will get their systems and data returned. Spokeswoman Rose Anne Brown said on Wednesday 19th June that the city has been working with external security consultants and that they have recommended that the ransom be paid. 

Brown agreed that there are no guarantees that the hackers will release the records once the payment has been made.  
The council are also going to spend at least $1m on new computer systems, a new IT specialist and cyber-security.

This attack is the latest in a number of globally serious cyber-attacks and the government has already indicted two Iranian men for attacking the US with at least 200 hundred cyber-hacks against different cities across the US, including Baltimore who refused to pay the hacker ransom.

Now new work is under-way to develop more secure cyber security systems and to protect existing installations. 

News by CSI

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