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Florida city agrees to pay $600,000 bitcoin ransom to regain data from cyber attack

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Riviera Beach — At an unannounced special meeting Tuesday night, the Riviera Beach City Council authorized the city’s insurer to pay nearly $600,000 worth of ransom to regain access to data walled off through an attack on the city’s computer systems.

Without discussion, the board voted 5-0 to authorize the city insurer to pay 65 bitcoins, a hard-to-track cryptocurrency valued at approximately $592,000.

The dollar amount was not mentioned before or after the vote, only that they would be paying through bitcoins, “whose value changes daily.”

The city’s email and computer systems, including those that control city finances and water utility systems, are still only partially back online, two weeks after the ransomware attack was first disclosed. But crucial data encrypted by the attackers remains beyond reach and there was no explanation of whether the city has any guarantee that the ransomers will release it if paid.

The FBI is investigating the attack, which officials said began after someone in the police department opened an infected email.

tdoris@pbpost.com
@TonyDorisPBP

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