It hasn't even been a full week since Riviera City, a town that fell victim to ransomware hackers, paid almost $600,000 in an attempt to regain control of vital city networks. Today, there's news that the government of yet another Florida town, Lake City, has voted to pay $500,000 in bitcoin to hackers for the same.
From a report by ZDNet/Zero Day's Catalin Cimpanu:
On Monday, in an emergency meeting of the city council, the administration of Lake City, a small Florida city with a population of 65,000, voted to pay a ransom demand of 42 bitcoins, worth nearly $500,000.
The decision to pay the ransom demand was made after the city suffered a catastrophic malware infection earlier this month, on June 10, which the city described as a "triple threat."
Despite the city's IT staff disconnecting impacted systems within ten minutes of detecting the attack, a ransomware strain infected almost all its computer systems, with the exception of the police and fire departments, which ran on a separate network.
Lake City government work has been crippled for nearly two weeks because of the incident.
A ransom demand was made a week after the infection, with hackers reaching out to the city's insurance provider — the League of Cities, which negotiated a ransom payment of 42 bitcoins last week.
City officials agreed to pay the ransom demand on Monday, and the insurer made the payment yesterday, on Tuesday, June 25, local media reported [1, 2, 3].
The payment is estimated to have been worth between $480,000 to $500,000, depending on Bitcoin's price at the time of the payment. The city's IT staff is now working to recover their data after receiving a decryption key.