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A Florida city is forking over $600,000 in ransom money to hackers

Crime… does pay?

florida pays malware ransom
Image: Corporate Bytes

America has a long-standing policy for those who try to extort us: “we do not negotiate with terrorists.” I’m not sure if that’s our *actual* policy, but a guy in a suit has said it in every single action movie I’ve ever seen, so I assume it to be true.

But Florida? Florida and I don’t mean for this to sound harsh, isn’t really America. It’s just Florida. That fake tough guy act Texas puts on about becoming an independent state? Florida has already done that. It is a lawless, desperate abandon that takes everything we know about America and either amplifies it a hundredfold or flips it on its head with a Tasmanian Devil-like cloud of crazy. That sounded harsh, didn’t it?

Point is, Florida operates by its own rules

You hack into a local government’s computer system and threaten to delete its records unless they pay your insane ransom? No hostage negotiation here, because BOOM, they cave immediately.

A Florida city agreed to pay $600,000 in ransom to hackers who took over its computer system. The Riviera Beach City Council voted unanimously this week to pay the hackers’ demands, believing the Palm Beach suburb had no choice if it wanted to retrieve its records, which the hackers encrypted.

Six. Hundred. Grand. That’s a lot of clams, as Florida cops say while examining the body of a murdered bath salt addict whose body washed ashore the night before. I’m kidding, Florida doesn’t have cops.

According to the Associated Press, the hackers gained access to the city’s database after an employee (my guess: Debra in accounting) clicked on a malware link in an email (classic Debra). The hackers are demanding the ransom be paid in Bitcoin (of course) via a series of anonymous-owned accounts. Which begs the question: What if they don’t give the records back?

Spokeswoman Rose Anne Brown said Wednesday that the city of 35,000 residents has been working with outside security consultants, who recommended the ransom be paid. She conceded there are no guarantees that once the hackers received the money they will release the records. The payment is being covered by insurance.

Guys, I’m just sayin’, it’s probably not a great sign when our government knows less about hackers than an indie rock band.

The FBI has yet to comment on the situation in Riviera Beach, because, and I’m just guessing here, an over-the-top eye roll can’t legally be considered an official comment.

What do you think? Should Florida pay the ransom or is this ridiculous? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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