Canadian Town Pays Bitcoin Ransom in Cyber Attack

To be able to restore their computers system, a small town in Canada has been forced to pay off hackers who perpetrated a ransomware attack against the town.

Without the appropriate skills and resources to fend off such attacks, local government systems in small towns and cities are most vulnerable to cyber attacks. Example of one town can be found in Canada, which was forced to pay the Bitcoin ransom demand.

Just a little over a week ago, ransomware attackers hit the town of Midland in Canada. The computer systems in the town were shut down for 48 hours. Some of the most common services being offered by the town were incapacitated by the attack including email, marriage applications, payment processing, permit issuing, and the reloading of transit cards.

On a positive note, crucial services like fire response and waste management were not affected by the attack. The perpetrators of the hack demanded Bitcoin ransom to restore the computer system. The Midland Town Council subsequently gave in to the demands. However, the exact amount of the ransom was not disclosed. In a media release, the town stated:

“Under the guidance of cyber security experts, we have initiated the process to pay the ransom in exchange for the decryption keys. Although not ideal, it is in our best interest to bring the system back online as quickly as possible. The Town had previously secured an insurance policy to cover such circumstances. Decryption efforts are underway.”

Although no one is amused that the hackers were paid off, no personal data was stolen from the attack. The press statement also said:

“The Town of Midland understands that residents and businesses are concerned about the potential for privacy breaches with respect to information held by the Town. We understand and appreciate the concern, but ongoing investigations have not found any evidence that suggests information was inappropriately accessed or removed from our systems.”

Earlier this year, the city of Atlanta became a target to a ransomware attack. The attack resulted in the loss of 10 year’s worth of documents at the City Attorney’s office. Atlanta also had to pay more than $2 million dollars to fix the problems. However, the total cost of the attack may have been over $9 million.

Meanwhile, the PGA of America was also attacked last month right before the start of a major tournament. The association did not give in to the ransom demand.