Concerns Arise as Riviera Beach Pays $600,000 Ransom to Hacker

first_imgCity officials in Riviera Beach surprised residents and even government experts on Wednesday, after they announced they are ready to pay 65 bitcoin, or $600,000 in ransom, to a hacker.The problem began several weeks ago, when a city employee opened an email that contained malware and which quickly took down the city’s computer system.Now, Councilor Douglas Lawson says that city leaders need to put the situation behind them and “restore normalcy to our city.”He adds that the city’s insurance should cover most of the ransom payment, but taxpayers will be responsible for the $18,000 deductible.According to cyber security expert and former CIA agent Lisa Ruth, paying the ransom could set a problematic precedent and encourage other hackers.Ruth explains, “It creates this opportunity for more targeting that could really cost you a lot in the long run. My concern for Riviera Beach is that they are now on the top of the list for that hacker or for other hackers because they know you’ve made that payment once.”It could take several more weeks for the City of Riviera Beach to have its systems fully functioning again.In the meantime, payment processing features remain unavailable, and dispatchers are having to record 911 call information by hand.City spokesperson Rose Anne Brown says that the city has reserved about $900,000 to buy new computer equipment and upgrade security systems, in order to avoid another attack.last_img


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