A City Says “Nuts” to Ransomware Demand

Granted, coming up with a payment that large is probably a problem from most municipalities. $5.3M Ransomware Demand: Massachusetts City Says No Thanks.

Okay, they aren’t really channeling Anthony McAuliffe and 101st Airborne, but they decided not to pay.

New Bedford, population 95,000 is near Boston.

After a ransomware attack slapped a hefty payout demand of $5.3 million on New Bedford, Mass., the city announced that it is instead opting to pick up the pieces and restore what it can from backups itself.

They had a little bit of luck, and they had some decent architecture. Which resulted in only about 4 percent of computers being hacked. They did have to shut down for an extended period of time.

That’s because after learning of the attack, the city was able to rapidly disconnect its computer servers and shut down systems. In addition, the attack hit after the July 4 holiday, meaning that a large number of computers were turned off at the same time that the ransomware was attempting to spread; and, officials said the city’s network was compartmentalized “to a certain degree,” making it harder for the malware to spread.

And they told us what the ransomware was, Ryuk (Ree-ook). Ryuk is both a strain of ransomware that is been wreaking havoc in various places and a character from a Manga (Japanese comic book) called Death Note. He is a Shinigami, “supernatural spirits that invite humans toward death in certain aspects of Japanese religion and culture.” I think that says something about the authors of the ransomware.

The city tried to negotiate a smaller payment, but that was rejected by the attackers. So off they go to restore.