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7.14.19
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Florida City Pays Hackers $600,000 to Restore Hijacked Network

June 20th 19__Dan Robitzski__Filed Under: Hard Science
Shutterstock/Victor Tangermann

Pay Up

The city council of Riviera Beach, Florida just paid anonymous hackers $600,000 of ransom money after the hackers took control of the city’s computer records, email system, and 911 dispatch logs.

The hackers demanded the ransom be paid in Bitcoin to help cover their tracks, Phys.org reports, marking the latest of the many ransomware attacks hitting tech firms and government agencies lately. It’s an illustration of just how vulnerable local government computer systems can be — and how lucrative it can be for hackers to attack them.

Don’t Negotiate

While the FBI officially recommends against paying hacker ransoms, Riviera Beach’s security consultant found that the city may not have any other option, per Phys.org. It was a similar dilemma to the one Baltimore faced last month when hackers took over 10,000 of the city’s computers, though in that case Baltimore refused to pay.

The FBI has found that many ransomware attacks come from outside the U.S., making it harder to track down the culprit. Many have been linked to hackers from North Korea or Iran, but so far the law enforcement agency hasn’t commented on the Riviera Beach case.

READ MORE: Florida city pays $600,000 ransom to save computer records [Phys.org]

More on cybercrime: Tech Firms May Be Funding Terrorism by Paying Hackers’ Ransoms