Florida city agrees to pay $600000 ransom to hackers

Security expert Riviera Beach should have backed up data minimizing cyber attack that cost $600K

The council had already voted to spend $900,000 on new computers after the attack struck three weeks ago, bringing the total outlay for the city of 32,000 residents to $1.5m.

At a special council meeting on Monday night, the council voted unanimously to authorize the city's insurance carrier to pay a 65 Bitcoin ransom to recover the city's data which has been encrypted. For hackers who broke into the computer systems of a Florida city a few weeks back, crime seems to be paying rather well, and the local government has agreed to pay the hefty sum of $600,000 to regain access to its own files.

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.

The Riviera Beach ransom attack is under investigation by the FBI, the U.S. Secret Service, and the Department of Homeland Security.

The FBI said on its website that it "doesn't support" paying off hackers, but Riviera Beach is not alone: many government agencies and businesses also pay ransom demands.

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Similar attacks hit Atlanta past year, and Baltimore last month. Baltimore officials refused to pay a $77,000 ransom. The city had numerous problems, including losing its email system and 911 dispatchers not being able to enter calls into the computer. Even cops had to dig through closets at the police headquarters to find paper traffic citations, The Palm Beach Post reported.

The most recent hack of import took place in Baltimore on May 7th in which hackers have demanded $76,000 in bitcoins in order to restore the city's affected servers.

"We are relying on their (the consultants') advice", she said.

He said in nearly all cases, the attackers decrypt the computers after payment, allowing the victims to retrieve their data. United States 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. He said many victims wind up like Riviera Beach: They pay their attacker because it is likely the only way to retrieve lost data. "There are only a finite amount of dollars that can be divvied up within the city to fund the services its citizens are expecting". Even when they pay, victims find they can not always recover all of their data, Rebholz said. According to the city's latest estimate, the attack has cost it more than $18 million. The hackers often operate from foreign countries, making it very hard for American law enforcement to identify them or take action against them.

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