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Some poor sap in Florida is losing his job for that $500,000 Bitcoin ransom

Sadly, this is the easiest way to save face.

Hacker on computer security chinese government
Image: Tech Everywhere

Remember that Florida city that paid a $500,000 Bitcoin ransom to some bored hackers? No, not that one. We’re talking about that other Florida city that got hacked – Lake City.

In a nutshell, the city council of Lake City – a 65,000 resident city some 300 miles from Riviera Beach – agreed to pay a ransom of nearly $500,000 to hackers who had breached its system with a “triple threat” malware attack. The city was basically locked out of their internal computer systems – crippling government work for nearly two weeks.

Fun stuff, right? Well, at least not for the city’s IT director. The poor sap just got fired. Speaking to WCTV, Lake City city manager, Joe Helfenberg confirmed their city’s director of information technology was officially canned. WCJB reports the employee as Brian Hawkins. Poor guy.

As to why he was fired? It’s not really clear at this point

No reason was really given. But the city’s mayor said something about revamping the “whole IT department,” to make sure something like this never happens again. My takeaway is that someone needed to get the ax to save face.

Now that the IT director is gone, city officials are working around the clock getting its computer systems back up and running. The city says that everything should be online in the next couple of weeks

This sort of malware attacks on local government is apparently becoming a thing. And now that hackers know that cities will pay these insane amounts, are we going to see more a lot more of these? And if that’s the case, are more people going to lose their jobs for it? Let’s hope not.

Do you feel like this guy’s firing was justified? Why did the city pay the ransom then? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Kevin is KnowTechie's founder and executive editor. With over 15 years of blogging experience in the tech industry, Kevin has transformed what was once a passion project into a full-blown tech news publication. Shoot him an email at or find him on Mastodon or Post.

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