During wave of cyberattacks across the United States, the Floridian city of Riviera Beach has given in and paid hackers the $600,000 they requested in Bitcoin (BTC). Hackers took over the city’s systems weeks ago as part of a worrying trend hitting many other administrative systems across the country.
In a string of high-profile cyberattacks, multiple cities have been hit by malicious ransomware. The worst case has been in the city of Baltimore where government systems were shut down for weeks. The attacks so far have cost the city tens of millions of dollars. Around 10,000 computers were infected with the hackers demanding Bitcoin (BTC) as payment.
One City Settles Up
However, rather than fight it, one city has given in to these demands. Riviera Beach, another city hit by ransomware attacks, has agreed to pay the hackers $600,000 in BTC. It’s unclear whether this cyberattack was related to the one in Baltimore, but it seems likely.
Despite the payment, there is no actual guarantee that the hackers will restore Riviera Beach’s records. The ransomware attack was able to proliferate through the city’s systems due to a police department employee opening a malicious email. The result was so crippling to the city that employees could not get paid and 900 dispatchers couldn’t even enter calls into their systems.
So, why did the city pay the hackers if there was no guarantee? According to the Associated Press, it was at the behest of security consultants. The payment is being covered by the city’s insurance provider. In preparation for future cyberattacks, the city will also be investing some $941,000 to replace its computer and hardware.
To Pay or Not to Pay
Riviera Beach is not the only victim to have been forced to pay up a ransom. However, it is the largest sum paid out to hackers in the wake of these coordinated ransomware attacks. It remains to be seen whether other cities will follow suit. In comparison, Baltimore only owed $76,000 in ransom and ended up incurring losses in the tens of millions. Maybe, sometimes, it’s a good idea to just play it safe and comply with the hackers’ requests—especially if the city’s emergency services are on the line.
Do you believe these cyberattacks are coordinated or just coincidental? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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