Canadian City Agrees to Pay Bitcoin After Ransomware Attack
Early in September, residents of Midland, Canada faced a city-wide ransomware threat to computer systems. Thronged by a population of around 16,000, every resident’s computer has been hacked, leaving all of their files encrypted.
This is yet another incident of a cyberattack which led to two days of operational disruptions in systems throughout the town. This eventually led to issues in payment processing, reloading transportation cards, email, permit applications, and even marriage paperwork processes.
Fortunately, the ransomware activities didn't significantly deter major city services like fire stations and rubbish management. Following the turn of events, the unidentified hackers requested the ransom be paid in BTC in return for decrypting the malware and resuming all normal functions. To ensure Midland's security, the city's residents have already started arranging for the requests to be fulfilled as demanded in BTC so that they may obtain the unlock keys.
In an interview, Midland Town Council reps remarked that they began arranging the funds under advice from various cybersecurity experts so that they can regain control over their files again. Although the trade might seem unusual, this step has been taken keeping in mind the priorities of Midland residents, stated the organization. The Canadian town previously took out insurance in case such an issue arises.
The decision to pay out the demands by the council is contradictory to what Americans had done when a similar incident arose a month back. When confronted with a ransomware attack, they denied paying the ransom to the hacker. In the situation gripping Midland, hackers stated that only they can provide the decryption key, and it is not available elsewhere.
Hackers Make Bank
Hacking computers to obtain a monetary ransom is indeed a new lucrative trend of business for cyber attackers. While agreeing to the demands of the hackers, Midland was concerned about its people, who have suffered heavily due to vicious malware activity. In August, a report emerged that Sophos, a UK cyber security agency, scraped in nearly $6 million while proliferating with $64,000 as the largest amount paid to an individual.
Reports from several institutions like universities in California and New York, Google, the city of San Diego, and much more prove that ransomware creators were successful in generating $25 million in 2 years, most of which were cashed in crypto.