On May 29, an employee in the Riviera Beach police department opened an email and instantly regretted it. Unfortunately, this particular email contained ransomware that brought the city’s government to its knees.

In the weeks that followed, the city paid employees, vendors, and others with paper checks. The police department sifted through storage to track down paper citation booklets. City employees couldn’t even access their email.

Ransomware Payday

On June 20, the Riviera Beach city council voted unanimously to pay the hackers. The decision authorized their insurance carrier to pay 65 bitcoins (roughly $592,000). At the moment, the city’s systems are still encrypted. There’s no guarantee that the attackers will unlock them.

Sadly, the cost of this incident doesn’t end there. Following the attack, the city council approved purchasing 310 new desktops and 90 laptops. The total cost for this purchase falls just under $1 million.

Ransomware Hits Cities Often

Baltimore suffered a ransomware attack in May also. In this case, the attack affected only a few systems, and attackers demanded about $76,000. Baltimore opted not to pay and is still working to recover.

Besides Riviera Beach and Baltimore, ransomware has hit over 50 cities over the past two years. They include the following: Atlanta, GA; Albany, NY; Cleveland, OH; Augusta, ME. We covered the Atlanta attack last year. That attack by itself cost Atlanta over $17 million.

No End In Sight

When ransomware hits a city, the stakes are high enough that the incident makes the news. However, the FBI received 1,493 reports of ransomware attacks last year. That number goes up every year. While governments make up a portion of that number, businesses represent the majority of it.

Yes, you should prevent these attacks however you can. But what happens if an attacker finds a way into your system anyway? A thorough, tested recovery plan could keep your organization’s doors open for business. The average ransomware attack results in at least a week of downtime. That number goes down drastically if you’re prepared.

Help Your Organization Get Ready

Do you know how your organization would respond to ransomware? Are your employees trained to recognize the signs of a typical attack? How quickly can you get back up and running? Even if the answer is yes, Pit Crew IT can help you analyze your current recovery plan and implement any changes needed. Request a free consultation below to get started!

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