Riviera Beach Pays Nearly $600,000 in Hopes to Repair Damages Following Ransomware Attack
Riviera Beach, Florida is a small city of about 35,000 people. Their leaders met this week to vote to pay nearly $600,000 in ransom to hackers who crippled the city’s computer systems through ransomware. A similar attack recently cost Baltimore $18 million to repair.
On June 17, Riviera Beach City Council agreed unanimously to have its insurance carrier pay 65 Bitcoin to Hackers in an effort to regain access to the data that was encrypted in the cyberattack. By paying the bitcoin to hackers which amounts to approximately $592,000, city council hopes the hackers will release their data, although that is no way to guarantee that happens.
The attack happened on May 29, 2019 when a police department employee opened an infected email attachment. The infection took down email, some phones, water utility pump stations and more.
Rose Anne Brown, a spokeswoman for Riviera Beach said that the city is working with law enforcement to reclaim the valuable information they lost in the attack. The city is also working with security consultants to resolve the situation.
“We are well on our way to restoring the city system,” Rose Anne Brown said.
Jason Rebholz, a principal for Moxfive, a technology advisory firm suggests that the large ransom that the hackers demanded from Riviera Beach could be a result of the fact that hackers have been able to increasingly target government agencies in sophisticated ways.
“The complexity and severity of these ransomware attacks just continues to increase. The sophistication of these threat actors is increasing faster than many organizations and cities are able to keep pace with,” Says Rebholz.
In a 2016 survey of Chief Information Officers, local governments across the country said they were using outdated technologies that made them more vulnerable to a cyberattack. The survey also discovered that fewer than half of the governments had cybersecurity insurance.
Government and Businesses ransomware attacks is becoming more and more comment across the globe because Hackers are learning that holding data hostage is a very effective way to extort money from these entities. Eternal Blue is a tool that was developed by the N.S.A. The tool, which the agency lost control of, is now being used as a weapon by hackers to attack governments and businesses.
In the aftermath of the attack on Riviera Beach, the city has authorized spending more than $900,000 to buy new computer hardware. The purchase was planned for next year, but was moved up as a results of the attack. Nearly a third of the cost will be covered by insurance. The city has also been able to restore their website, and has created brand new email addresses for all employees.
Story via The New York Times