Hit by Ransomware Attack, US Town Agrees to pay Attackers $600,000 in Bitcoin



Riviera Beach, a small city which is located just north of West Palm Beach, fall prey to a massive cyber attack, wherein the hackers paralyzed the city's computer systems and have asked the city council to pay a $600,000 ransom in Bitcoin in order to have the data released.

With the hope of regaining the access to the encrypted data in the cyber attack, the officials of the Florida town conducted a meeting this week where the council agreed to pay the criminals 65 Bitcoin, a difficult to track currency.

Reportedly, it was after an employee of the town's police division accessed a phishing email, the virus which paralyzed all the computer systems in the city was unleashed.

To spread the word about the ransomware attack amongst the residents, a notice was posted on the city website which stated that they had undergone a data security event and was "working with our internal management team third-party consultants to address all issues."

Commenting on the matter, Mr. Rebholz, a principal for Moxfive, a technology advisory firm, said, “The complexity and severity of these ransomware attacks just continues to increase,”

“The sophistication of these threat actors is increasing faster than many organizations and cities are able to keep pace with.” He added.

A number of American cities have fallen prey to similar, computer-based breaches wherein the attackers demanded heavy ransoms for the restoration of the networks. Recently, Baltimore experienced a similar attack and though they refused to pay the ransom, the attack cost the city $18 million to fix damages.



New Ransomware Strain Hits the Chinese Web; Infects 100K PCs




More than 100,000 Chinese users have had their Windows PCs infected with yet another strain of ransomware that encodes their records and files all the while requesting a 110 yuan (~$16) ransom. The inadequately composed ransomware is known to have been scrambling local documents and taking credentials for various Chinese online services.

As of now there has been no threat made to international users as the ransomware is only determined to focusing on the Chinese web only.

The individual or the group behind the activity are only utilizing Chinese-themed applications to appropriate the ransomware by means of local sites and discussions at the same time asking for ransom payments through the WeChat payment service, just accessible in China and the contiguous areas.


A report from Chinese security firm Huorong, the malware, named 'WeChat Ransom' in a few reports, came into existence on December 1 and the quantity of infected systems has developed to more than 100,000 as of December 4.

Security specialists who analysed the attack said that other than encoding records, the ransomware additionally incorporated an information-stealing component that collected login credentials for a few Chinese online services, like Alipay, Baidu Cloud, NetEase 163, Tencent QQ, and Taobao, Tmall, and Jingdong.

Chinese security organizations examining the malware concur that it is a long way from a complex risk that can be effortlessly defeated. Although it professes to delete the decryption key if the victim neglects to pay the ransom by a specific date, document recuperation is as yet conceivable in light of the fact that the key is hardcoded in the malware.

Specialists from Huorong examining this ransomware string have found a name, a cell phone number, a QQ account, and an email address that could enable police to identify and catch the thief.

This most recent ransomware campaign anyway is additionally not the first occasion when those Chinese-based ransomware creators have utilized WeChat as a ransom payment dealing strategy. The ones who committed this deadly error in the past have been captured by the officials within months.

The Chinese police, in general, have a decent reputation of capturing the hackers within weeks or months after a specific malware crusade stands out as truly newsworthy.