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Riviera Beach commissioners vote to pay hackers more than half a million dollars in ransom

The Riviera Beach City Commission voted earlier this week to pay hackers who had crippled the city's computer system the equivalent of $600,000 in ransom. [Times files]
Published Jun. 20

In this case, at least, it appears that crime will pay.

The Riviera Beach City Commission voted earlier this week to pay hackers who had crippled the city's computer system the equivalent of $600,000 in ransom, the Palm Beach Post reports.

The board needed just two minutes, according to the Post, to vote 5-0 to authorize the city insurer to pay 65 Bitcoins, a cryptocurrency that is more difficult to track.

The Riviera Beach Police and Fire departments have had to write down 911 calls on paper since the May 29 attack, which police believe was triggered when someone in the department opened a malicious email.

City officials lost email and phone service. Paychecks had to be handprinted. Water utility pump stations went offline. Important data was locked away.

It is unclear whether the city will be able to recover any lost data even if the ransom is paid.

"It's a risk," city council chairwoman KaShamba Miller-Anderson told the Post.

The FBI, Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security are investigating the attack.

Riviera Beach is located in Palm Beach County, just north of West Palm Beach.

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