A Florida city has agreed to pay hackers who incapacitated their computer system nearly $600,000 in ransom.
The Riviera Beach, Fla., City Council voted unanimously Monday night to have its insurer pay a hacker’s demand for 65 bitcoin, valued at $592,000. The city will pay an addition $25,000 to cover its deductible, according to The Palm Beach Post.
The attack began on May 29, when a police department employee in Riviera Beach, a city of 35,000 people north of West Palm Beach, downloaded an infected email attachment, The Palm Beach Post reported.
The virus paralyzed the city’s online system, including email, phones and water utility pump stations. Utility bills to the city could only be paid in person or by mail, and only in check or cash, according to The New York Times.
“Anything that was done online, we did not have access to,” Rose Anne Brown, a city spokesperson, told The New York Times. “We were able to make payroll and make vendor payments."
City finance department staffers were paid overtime because they had to print paychecks that were supposed to be direct deposited into employee’s bank accounts. City law enforcement had to write residents paper traffic citations.
Interim Information Technology Manager Justin Williams told the City Council on Monday that city email and websites are back up, as well as the finance department and water utility pump stations, The Palm Beach Post reported.
On June 4, the City Council authorized $941,000 for 310 new computers and hardware. Insurance will cover more than $300,000 for the new technology, The Palm Beach Post reported.
The attack comes just weeks after the city of Baltimore paid $18 million in repairs after a debilitating ransomware attack on Baltimore city networks, The New York Times reported.