Bitcoin ransom paid in Lake City malware attack

Ransomware program crippled email systems, landline phones

By Nick Jones - Digital producer

LAKE CITY, Fla. - After city networks in Lake City were crippled by a malware attack called Triple Threat, a ransom was negotiated to pay the attacker 42 Bitcoins in exchange for an encryption key, according to a release Tuesday from the city.

The city was targeted by the malware attack on June 10, which rendered many government email systems and landlines inoperable.

Initially, the city said, no ransom demand was received during the attack, which could have been due to the city's response to immediately deactivate its system. Sometime last week, however, a request for ransom was submitted to the Florida League of Cities, Lake City's insurance provider.

A measure was approved during an emergency city council meeting on Monday night, the city said, to pay 42 Bitcoins, which was paid by the insurance provider in return for a decryption key. The exact dollar figure is unclear, as the amount fluctuates based on the exchange rate. As of Tuesday evening, 42 Bitcoins equaled about $480,000.

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Lake City, the release said, is only responsible for a $10,000 deductible to the League of Cities. It was determined to be more cost effective to retrieve the decryption key than continue with self-recovery efforts.

It's unclear how long it will take to bring all systems fully back online, but the city's tech staff is optomistic about a full recovery.

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