Pennsylvania Senate Democrats spent over $700,000 to recover from 2017 ransomware attack

  • The Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus was hit by a ransomware attack on March 2017.
  • The attack shut down the organization’s servers and IT systems.

The Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus was hit by a ransomware attack on March 2017 that resulted in shutting down the organization’s IT systems and servers. The organization reportedly paid Microsoft over $700,000 to recover from the attack.

The yet-to-be-identified ransomware demanded around 28 bitcoins (around $30,000) to decrypt the data encrypted. The organization refused to pay the ransom, instead choosing to rebuild their IT system from scratch, ZDNet reported.

Although the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus paid far more than the cybercriminals’ $30,000 ransom, the organization is not alone in choosing to rebuild from scratch than pay a ransom to attackers.

Buffalo’s Erie County Medical Center, which also recently suffered a ransomware attack, paid $10 million to fix its 6,000 computers, instead of paying a $30,000 ransom to cybercriminals, TribLive reported.

This trend indicates that more and more organizations are choosing to pay massive amounts of money to legitimately recover from the attack, instead of paying a ransom. One of the reasons why an increasing number of organizations are making such decisions is because they likely must pay up, regardless of whether or not they pay a ransom.

Choosing to rebuild the attacked IT infrastructure, could be a much smarter and safer decision for organizations. This can send a message to cybercriminals about the targeted organization’s inflexibility in paying a ransom. Although costly, this new trend could help reduce ransomware infections in the future.