Florida City To Give 65 Bitcoins As Ransom to Hackers

Riviera Beach, a small city in Florida, has recently been facing the onslaught of a series of crippling ransomware attacks. The authorities have finally given in to the demands of the hackers and agreed to give out as many as 65 bitcoins (which are worth well over $650,000 at the time of writing) to gain back access to their files.

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.

Utility payments and email services have been cut off and the attack, waged by unknown hackers, have had a slew of repercussions on the public life of the city.

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Apparently, the ransomware took hold when an employee of the city’s police department unwittingly opened an email attachment containing the harmful malware file.

Once the malware took root in the centralized systems of the Riviera Beach city, the entire network fell prey to the hackers, with phones, websites, and water utility pumping stations becoming inaccessible for usual online activities. This had a devastating effect on the day-to-day operations and activities of the city, as everything came to a standstill. As Rose Anne Brown, the spokeswoman of the city told the press:

“Anything that was done online, we did not have access to. But we were able to make payroll and vendor payments.”

Faced by this unique problem, the Riviera Beach City Council met on 17th June, 2019 and decided with complete unanimity that the unscrupulous hackers should be paid 65 Bitcoins via their insurance carrier.

However, this is expected to set a rather disturbing precedent as the city buckles under the pressure from wrongdoers. Moreover, there seems to be little guarantee as to whether or not the hackers can be trusted to decrypt the files upon receiving the ransom payment.