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City in Massachusetts says no to ransom demand of $5.3 million.

On September 4, 2019, Jon Mitchell, the mayor of New Bedford, revealed that hackers infiltrated the city’s network and demanded a ransom of $5.3 million in exchange for decryption keys. The incident occurred on the night of July 4, 2019, when data stored in 158 systems was encrypted.

What happened.

The incident was identified on July 5, 2019, when city officials could not access the network. The IT security team immediately identified that the hackers had installed the ransomware variant, Ryuk. The city was unable to afford the ransom, and instead offered to pay a ransom of $400,000. The attackers denied the request and did not provide the decryption keys.

City officials are using backups to recover lost data and are restoring the systems back to their original states with help from the city's cybersecurity experts. City officials also confirmed that despite the attack, public services have not been majorly impacted. 

"We live in a world now that is so interconnected that simply pulling up the proverbial drawbridge is unrealistic," Mayor Mitchell said in his press release. "We will rely on the advice of our experts to guide us, but we must remain constantly vigilant and willing to devote the resources necessary to protect our system from a much more debilitating attack than the one we just experienced. I am committed to making sure our City does just that."

Attacks on government agencies have increased drastically over the last few months. In August, around 22 government bodies in Texas fell victim to a data breach, and in June, a city in Florida was affected by a ransomware attack that led to a loss of $600,000 paid in ransom to regain access to the network.

Want to stay one step ahead of attackers? Invest in a tool like ManageEngine DataSecurity Plus to secure data and mitigate ransomware attacks. Download a 30-day, free trial of DataSecurity Plus today.

How ManageEngine can help.

Investing in a ransomware detection tool helps you detect and respond to ransomware attacks in real time to minimize the impact on your organization. Here are some best practices DataSecurity Plus can help you implement to handle ransomware attacks.

  • Detect ransomware with real-time mass access alerts. Monitor the frequency of file modifications by a user, and issue alerts whenever the number of modifications crosses a specified threshold within a specified time.
  • Quarantine ransomware and shut down infected devices with a customizable and automated response system. Set up your own automated alert responses through the execution of a batch file to respond to mass access alerts automatically.
  • View in-depth details of events for further investigation. Generate customizable, audit-ready reports on all file-related changes, access attempts, and share permissions.

ManageEngine DataSecurity Plus has the ability to perform all of these best practices, and can automatically identify and mitigate ransomware threats. Start your free, 30-day trial of DataSecurity Plus today.


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