A city in Florida paid out around $460,000 in a bitcoin ransom scheme, about a week after another Florida city paid around $600,000. Lake City’s IT Director Brian Hawkins has been fired as a result of the breach, which shut down the city’s critical digital infrastructure. As CCN previously reported, ransomware is on the rise. Baltimore, Atlanta, and several other jurisdictions have fallen victim, including the public defender system in Boston.
Previously, ransomware had been seen as on the decline. But more sophisticated variations of the software have arisen, often deploying themselves via e-mail or through the web.
Once a ransomware or cryptolocker has taken over a network, it’s a matter of time before it finds a group of vulnerable computers. In some cases, the entire system can be locked down or just crucial parts of it, such as those that serve public infrastructure.
In Atlanta, for example, many parts of the judicial system are currently unusable. That city previously paid $7 million to get around paying off a ransom of just over $50,000.
The full scale of the damage in Baltimore remains unknown. In both cases, simply paying the ransom might be the way to go.
This is the route that two cities in Florida have chosen, with Lake City being the latest.
What would it do to your business if you were faced with the choice having to pay hundreds of thousands to recover your data or start from scratch? Would your business survive? In every case of ransomware, the entire problem could have ben avoided at several levels: properly patched computers, properly configured firewall, anti-virus, valid backups, and, above all, properly trained staff.
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