A city in Florida decided to pay a $500k USD ransom to a hacker group after falling victim to a ransomware attack. According to network security specialists, this is the second time in less than two weeks that a locality in this state decides to yield to the demands of cybercriminals.
This week, Lake City officials voted unanimously to pay hackers to reset their systems, which have remained down for two weeks. The two small towns in Florida have already handed over $1 million in total to hackers.
Previously the Riviera Beach suburb decided to pay about $600k USD after a similar cybersecurity incident blocked access to important files at government offices. Although the infection was detected almost immediately, the city’s network security experts failed to disrupt the attack. Online payment systems and the city’s mail server were affected.
The hackers contacted the insurance company contracted by the city government and agreed to pay 42 Bitcoins, approximately $500k USD. Due to the inability to operate in various areas of the government, officials decided to pay the ransom to the hackers.
“We never imagined this could happen to us, especially since the city is so small”, the mayor declared. Although the city’s insurance policy covers most of the costs, the city will have to resort less to people’s taxes.
According to the network security specialists from the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) ransomware attacks have become a recurring method for threat actors. On previous occasions, entire cities have had to resort to using paper and typewriters due to the damage generated on their computers by encryption malware.
Other U.S. cities, such as Baltimore, Atlanta, as well as some locations in California, Ohio, and New York have also recently been affected by ransomware attacks, although they don’t always yield to the demands of threat actors.