It’s always a shame when malicious actors enter the cryptocurrency space. It’s even worse when we see victims being made to give in to the demands of such actors.
A Cyberattack Is a Deadly Thing
In what seems like a reverse ending of a Hollywood thriller, hackers that took over a computer network in Florida walked away with $600,000 in cryptocurrency ransom funds so users could regain access. This is suggestive of two very unfortunate things: 1) that the United States still isn’t as prepared as it should be for cyberattacks, and 2) that the good people of society don’t always come out ahead.
The cyberattack ultimately removed the network capabilities of Riviera Beach in Florida. A resort town approximately 50 miles north of Fort Lauderdale, the city council met regarding the crypto demands of the hackers and unanimously agreed to pay the money to regain control of its access logins.
The attack has been going on for approximately a month, with the actors taking control on May 29. Things began negatively when an employee of the local police department opened an email attachment that contained malicious code or malware. This provided the hackers access to the city’s computer systems and allowed them to take over.
While the money has been paid, the hackers have not made any promises to restore the systems once they received their money. At press time, it is unclear if the city has control of its computer networks yet, and Live Bitcoin News is waiting for confirmation. Officials of Riviera Beach have claimed that once access is regained, they will spend approximately $1 million on new computers and digital equipment.
Much of the U.S.’s infrastructure remains allegedly open to cyberattacks of this nature. Experts in both the federal government and the private sector have been warning officials for years that such danger exists, though many legislators have been slow to take necessary action.
Problems like these are nothing new, and several have occurred in just the last few months alone. Recently, the city of Baltimore, Maryland was hit with a cyberattack in which hackers were demanding a ransom of approximately $76,000 in bitcoin. The city has refused to pay and has worked hard to restore its systems, though at the time of writing, it is estimated that the attack has cost the city upwards of $18 million.
In addition, approximately 30 percent of the city’s employees still don’t have necessary access, and it is said that several systems will not return to full functionality for months.
People Underestimate the Consequences
James Andrew Lewis, a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, comments:
How many people have died in a cyberattack? Zero, and maybe that’s the threshold. People underappreciate the effects that aren’t immediately visible to them.
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