A town in Florida has paid around $500,000 to hackers following a ransomware attack which took down computer systems.
Lake City officials voted to pay hackers after computer systems were taken down by a ransomware attack. Ransomware is a type of computer malware that threatens to publish the victim’s data or indefinitely block access to it unless a ransom is paid. Perhaps the most well-known ransomware attack of recent times is the WannaCry Ransomware attack on the NHS and other organisations in 2017, which reportedly cost the health service £92m.
The attack on Lake City computers saw workers locked out of email accounts and members of the public unable to make municipal payments online, according to reports.
The insurer of the town in Flordia negotiated ransom payment of 42 bitcoins, or approximately $500,000. It is understood insurance will cover most of the payment, though around $10,000 would be incurred by taxpayers, the mayor Stephen Witt said.
“I would have never dreamed this could have happened, especially in a small town like this” said the mayor.
More than one town in Flordia has been hit by ransomware lately – the coastal suburb, Riviera Beach recently paid hackers $600,000 following a similar incident which locked municipal staff out of files. The attack on Riviera Beach resulted in some workers being forced to switch to using paper for some tasks, according to reports