Lake City, FL (60 miles west of Jacksonville) paid $500,000 to hackers after a ransomware attack left their data encrypted.
Officials voted to pay the ransom to the hackers in Bitcoin (common currency requested in ransomware attacks). IT staff disconnected the staff computers within minutes of the initial attack but the damage had already been done.
Officials were able to negotiate a ransom payment of 42 bitcoins (approximately $500,000). Indicating that the city was not able to restore their data and had little recourse in regaining access to their data and computer systems (RE: City does not have an effective data backup plan).
Taxpayers would be responsible for $10,000, with insurance covering the majority of the payment.
Lake City Mayor Stephen Witt was quoted as saying:
“I would have never dreamed this could have happened, especially in a small town like this,”
Cyber-security experts generally advise people not to pay ransoms as there is no guarantee files or computer systems will be restored.
Flip the page to see the local news report.