Threat Level Increases in 2019 as Several Cities and Counties in US Respond to Ransomware Attacks by Paying Hefty Ransom
- More than 225 US mayors have signed a resolution to oppose the payment to ransomware attackers.
- The resolution was passed at the US Conference of Mayors Annual meeting which took place in June and July this year.
Ransomware attacks are burgeoning across the cities and counties in the US. According to The U.S. Conference of Mayors, at least 22 such attacks have been noticed in the first half of 2019. This includes the counties of Fisher, Texas, Genesee and Michigan and the cities like Baltimore and Albany.
Cost of ransomware attacks
Few cities like Baltimore had strongly rejected the ransom by incurring the loss which amounted to nearly 10 times the ransom. However, there were few counties and cities that decided to pay the asked ransom to gain access to their infected systems.
Jackson County paid a sum of $400,000 in ransom to decrypt the data and regain access to their affected computer systems affected by the ransomware attack in March 2019. It was determined the County’s infrastructure was infected using Ryuk ransomware.
The Lake City in Florida made several attempts to restore the affected networks before paying a ransom of roughly $480,000 to recover its encrypted data. The ransom was paid in the form of 42 Bitcoins to threat actors.
Another city in Florida, Riviera Beach met with the same fate on June 2019. The city which was locked out of its systems and email services since May 29, 2019, decided to pay more than $600,000 to a ransomware gang to recover its data. Apart from this, the City’s officials also spent $941,000 for new computer systems and other hardware. This step was taken to rebuild its IT infrastructure following the incident.
LaPorte County, which was infected by Ryuk, also paid $130,000 to recover its impacted systems, including backups.
A resolution passed against paying ransoms
More than 225 US mayors have signed a resolution to oppose the payment to ransomware attackers.
The resolution was passed at the US Conference of Mayors Annual meeting which took place in June and July this year. Although the resolution does not have legal binding but can be used as an official position to justify administrative actions for both federal authorities and taxpayers alike.