Florida city also became the victim of the well-known trend of earning money through attacking computer systems of the city.
This saga started when one of the municipal employee opened a corrupted email which caused the whole city to lose their computer network system on may, 29 and also forced Florida city to provide $ 600,000 ransom to hackers to get their data back.
Hackers did not only steal the data and encrypt all data that are essential for the city but also hacked the network of all the city. The water controlling system was offline, government email and phone systems couldn’t work, and 911 calls couldn’t enter into computer records. The computer systems controlling city finances and water utility pump stations are partially blank online according to a local report. It affected the economy and lives of persons that are living in that city. For instance, if an individual calls 911 that are helpline number and can’t get a hold of them, it might be able to kill people.
The cyberattack paralyzed the computer system of a city whose security system may also be unprepared for such an attack. Florida city will pay $600,000 to hackers to get the data back but there is no assurance that full data will recover after paying money.
A similar case has occurred at Riviera Beach a few weeks ago at where city employees have not been able to access their emails, emergency dispatchers for three weeks. The city council voted to pay 65 bitcoin a cryptocurrency which is not easily traceable, to the hackers without any opposition.
The city is still recovering from the attack and the government appointed their first chief information security officer to guard city systems against the cyber threats.
Hackers evolve and operate on much faster timelines that make it hard for cities to keep up against them at attacking time and they are advancing in their own pace that they don’t work on annual budget cycles.
Experts say the Florida case is just one example of how vulnerable municipalities are to ransomware attacks. Although cyber attacks are increasing day by day and not only causing more damage to governments and businesses but also become threat to privacy of individuals to all over the world, governments are establishing more laws on cyber security and taking strict actions against the attackers .
U.S. government filed charges against two iranians for allegedly launching more than 200 ransomware attacks, including those that hit the cities of Atlanta and Newark. They collected more than $6 million in ransom and caused $30 million in damage to computer systems said by authorities.
Apart from Florida, Atlanta and Baltimore are recent victims of ransomware attack at where the Atlanta city ended up spending $2.6 million in recovery costs including incident response and forensics, additional staffing and Microsoft Cloud infrastructure expertise; while Baltimore dished out $18.3 million in restoration costs and lost revenue. Atlanta paid $51,000 ransom while Baltimore refused to pay a single penny after the system was attacked.
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