Multiple Florida municipalities have fallen victim to ransomware in recent weeks. The first was Riviera City, which agreed to pay hackers 65 bitcoins ($600,000) after officials determined there was no other way to get their data unlocked and decrypted.
This was followed by a similar incident in Lake City that culminated in a ransomware payment of not only $460,000 in bitcoin, but the firing of its director of information technology, Brian Hawkins. While he wasn’t the one directly responsible (an employee had opened an infected document received via email), city officials saw fit to terminate the man at the top to prove they are serious in revamping IT security.
Experts say paying the ransom is a terrible idea. It tells hackers they can “get away with it and make money.”
“Our city manager did make a decision to terminate one employee and he is revamping out whole it department to comply with what we need to be able to overcome what happened this last week or so and that’s so it doesn’t happen again,” said Lake City Mayor Stephen Witt.
While Lake City officials told TV20 that their investigation is ongoing, Wiggins doesn’t believe they’ll be successful in tracking down the attacker.