RIVERA BEACH CITY, Fla. — Rivera Beach City agreed to pay $600,000 in Bitcoin to hackers who took over its computer system.
- Hackers got into the city's computer system
- Thousands of ransom hacker attacks across the U.S
- No guarantee the city will get the records back
Recently, there have been thousands of attacks worldwide aimed at extorting money from governments and businesses.
The Riviera Beach City Council voted unanimously this week to pay the hackers' demands, believing the Palm Beach suburb had no choice if it wanted to retrieve its records back from the hacker.
The hackers got into the city's system when an employee clicked on an email link that allowed them to upload malware.
Along with the encrypted records, the city had numerous problems including a disabled email system, employees and vendors being paid by check rather than direct deposit and 911 dispatchers being unable to enter calls into the computer.
The council already voted to spend almost $1 million on new computers and hardware after hackers captured the city's system three weeks ago.
Spokeswoman Rose Anne Brown said the city of 35,000 residents has been working with outside security consultants, who recommended the ransom be paid.
She claimed that there are no guarantees that once the hackers receive the money that they’ll release the records.
Brown said they’re relying on the security consultants’ advice. The hacker specifically demanded payment in cryptocurrency bitcoin because the owner of the bitcoin account can’t always be identified.
Numerous government agencies and businesses in the U.S have been attacked by hackers in exchange for ransom money.
The U.S. government indicted two Iranians last year for allegedly unleashing more than 200 ransomware attacks that cost $30 million in damages, but the pair have not been arrested yet.
Officials say even with the plans to pay the ransom, an investigation is under way.