A Florida city has agreed to pay a $600,000 ransom to hackers who took over its computer system three weeks ago.
The Riviera Beach City Council voted unanimously this week to meet the hackers' demands. The council also approved to spend almost $1 million on new computers and hardware. It’s believed that the hackers apparently got into the city's system when an employee clicked on an email link that allowed them to upload malware. In addition to the city's records being encrypted, Riviera Beach's e-mail system has been disabled, and utility payments cannot be made online. At the same time 911 dispatchers were also unable to enter calls into their computers. The cyber attackers have demanded payment in the cryptocurrency bitcoin, which is difficult to track.
The Riviera Beach City
The Riviera Beach is the city of 35,000 residents located just north of West Palm Beach. The attack on Riviera Beach is the latest in a series of worldwide attacks aimed at extorting money from governments and businesses. In other recent case of ransom demand, Baltimore refused to pay hackers $76,000 after an attack last month. City governments in Atlanta, Newark, N.J., and Sarasota, Fla., also have been hit by ransomware schemes. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, ransomware is the fastest growing malware threat, targeting both individuals and organizations.