Ransomware attacks are intensely targeting local governments around the US, shutting down their systems. And most of the government appear to ignore the FBI’s warning against giving in to hacker demands. With a population of only 35,000 residents, Riviera Beach in Florida has just adopted the same tactic, writes CNN.
After its computer systems were crippled by ransomware on May 29, when an employee from the police department opened an infected email, the city council in Riviera Beach secretly voted during an emergency meeting on Monday to pay 65 bitcoins (some $600,000) in ransom to regain access to their computers.
The ransomware infection forced the police and fire departments to take notes on paper of all calls received. According to city officials, the average is 280 calls daily.
The vote was unanimous and the payment will be covered by the city’s insurance. By giving in to hacker demands, the council hopes to regain access to the encrypted files and make the system operational.
The city has so far spent over $900,000 to improve its IT infrastructure by investing in 310 desktops and 90 laptops.
Interim IT Director for Riviera Beach, Justin Williams, claims the city has to pay over $1 million to “completely fix and insure the issue.” Williams said the city website and email have been restored.
Law enforcement has started investigating the attack.