Riviera Beach Authority Willing to Pay Hacker $600,000 in BTC Ransom for Data Access

By Tracy Hannes | June 22, 2019
Riviera Beach Authority Willing to Pay Hacker $600,000 in BTC Ransom for Data Access

Riviera Beach, Florida city council is willing to satisfy a ransom demand worth of $600,000 in Bitcoin (BTC), in order to re-acquire the encrypted data currently in the hackers’ custody.

Reported by the New York Times on June 19th, on May 29th, a member in the Florida police department opened an email carrying a file containing viruses, which caused the city to undergo “a data security event” that crashed the entire network. The criminals allegedly turned all governmental-level files into encrypted data, denied access to critical information and crippled Florida utility payments, leaving offline, in-person payment or email the only choices.

Rose Anne Brown – Florida city spokeswoman – revealed that an amount up to $900,000 was invested in computer software, for a plan scheduled to initiate in 2020. In order to satisfy the hackers’ demand, the city has agreed to anonymously give 65 BTC (around $592,000) to them, in an effort to regain access to their data and get the system up and running. However, there is no guarantee from the hackers’ side that they will uphold their promise, returning the access upon receiving the ransom.

“All cities, whether large or small, are by nature very cost-conscious when it comes to budgeting for technology investments. The mid- to small-sized cities are especially strained when it comes to finding the necessary resources to keep their technology current.

There are only a finite amount of dollars that can be divvied up within the city to fund the services its citizens are expecting.” Michael van Zwieten, director of technology services at the Florida League of Cities, further expressed.

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