Riviera Beach Ransomware : Florida City Council Agrees to Pay $600,000 in BTC to Bitcoin Hackers.
Florida (MARKET NEWS)
A Florida city has agreed to pay a ransom of $ 600,000 to computer hackers who have taken control of its computer system. The latest is about thousands of attacks around the world aimed at extorting money from governments and corporations.
Riviera Beach City Council voted unanimously this week to respond to requests from hackers, saying the suburbs of Palm Beach had no choice if they wanted to recover their records, only encrypted pirates. The council has already voted to spend nearly $ 1 million on new computers and equipment after hackers captured the city’s system three weeks ago.
Hackers apparently entered the city system when an employee clicked on an email link that allowed him to download malware. In addition to the encrypted recordings, the city was facing a number of issues including a disabled e-mail system, payroll and check-out employees and vendors, and 911 dispatchers who were unable to make calls to the computer. The city says there was no delay in the response time.
Spokeswoman Rose Anne Brown said on Wednesday that the city of 35,000 people was working with outside security consultants, who recommended payment of the ransom. She conceded that there was no guarantee that once hackers received the money, they would post the records. Payment is covered by insurance. The FBI website says it “does not support” the reimbursement of hackers, but Riviera Beach is not the only one: many agencies and government companies do it.
“We are counting on their advice (those of the consultants),” she said. Hackers demanded payment in bitcoin cryptocurrency. Although it is possible to track bitcoins as they are spent, account owners are not necessarily known, making them a preferred means of payment for ransomware attacks.
Many governments and businesses have been affected in the United States and around the world in recent years. Baltimore refused to pay $ 76,000 to hackers after an attack last month. The US government indicted two Iranians last year for launching more than 200 ransomware attacks, including the cities of Atlanta and Newark, New Jersey. The men, who have not been arrested, have received more than $ 6 million in payments and $ 30 million in computer damage, federal prosecutors said.
Last year, the federal government also accused a North Korean programmer of committing the “WannaCry” attack that had infected government computers, banks, factories and hospitals in 150 countries. He also reportedly stole $ 81 million from a Bangladeshi bank. He also stays in his home country.
The FBI did not comment Wednesday on the attack on the Riviera Beach, but said that 1,493 ransomware attacks were reported last year with victims paying $ 3.6 million to hackers, or about 2,400 dollars per attack. Some were against individuals.
Tom Holt, a professor of criminal justice at Michigan State University, said hackers often attack common and known vulnerabilities in computer systems. He said business technology managers should examine their systems to detect such defects and teach their employees not to open suspicious email or click on suspicious links. The FBI says companies must also back up their data regularly on secure computers.
Holt said most attacks originated in the United States, making them difficult to control. He added that many victims end up in Riviera Beach: they pay their attacker, because this is probably the only way to recover lost data.
“They might not pay the initial ransom suggested, but work with a third-party vendor to negotiate the ransom,” Holt said.
He added that in almost all cases, attackers deciphered computers after payment, allowing victims to recover their data. He said the WannaCry attacks were an exception: the hackers took the money, but often they did not disclose the data.
Some private attempts to decrypt WannaCry have been successful.