Ransomware Attacks Create Dilemma For Cities: Pay Up Or Resist?

It’s been a bad summer so far for government information systems. Hackers have used ransomware to attack the data networks of Baltimore, the Georgia courts system and Lake City, Fla., to name a few. And the decision as to whether to pay the extortionists ransom is fraught. Pay them, get the decryption key and get your data and network back in fairly short order. Or refuse to cooperate with criminals and have it cost untold millions of dollars and create significant aggravation.

That’s the conundrum that the town of Lake City suddenly found itself in in June. It started out as a nice, normal Monday morning at city hall. But then someone in IT noticed something was wrong, says Mike Lee, a sergeant with the Lake City Police Department.

“They immediately brought everything off line,” Lee said. “They turned off the servers. They literally went room through room through city hall, unplugging people’s networks cables and turning off all the computers.”