Security of US City at Stake, Hackers Demanded One Million Dollar


In Florida, a case has been reported regarding the crippling of computer systems by the hackers and asking for $ 1 million ransom for the same. It has been reported earlier this week and officials are yet to decide if they are going the way, the hacker wants them to. If they meet the demands of the hackers, they may have to dip into Pensacola city coffers; the city having population of 52,000 citizens in Florida’s Panhandle whose annual budget is roughly $245 million which will worsen the data security conditions of the city and would be kept open in the broad daylight for theft and data scams including ransom demands attacks.

As per the conversation with Lagarde, this ransom demands attack behind this scandal has already taken down the security wall of city’s computer network within the last weekend which is less than a day after the Saudi student massacre where a Saudi aviation student killed 3 US sailors and hurt 8 other commoners at a naval air station. As per the FBI, the attackers are not connected and there is probably no connection between the two massacres.


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As per the reports by a cybersecurity blog published earlier this week, a group behind the ransom demands scandal called Maze has said that they are the ones responsible for the attack and was demanding $1 million from the Pensacola city. Through the emails exchanged with the website, the Maze hackers had claimed that they are the thieves who stole the information from the city but did not mention if they had given Pensacola officials a timeline within which they have to pay off otherwise the hackers won’t release the documents. Bleeping computers editor Lawrence Abrams had stated that Maze operators had authenticated themselves with the proof of identity with a different hack and they have posted short pieces of email exchanges with his blog on a dark web payment website.

The city officials who have declined to discuss if they might have been responsible for any ransom demand received against the city. The city said it has restored some services, including email, phone services, and other utility online bill payments sites.


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Ransom demands infections have reached almost an epidemic level of soaring this year and security researchers have this opinion that this raging disease can even disrupt and highly affect the results and smooth execution of presidential elections of the US next year. According to a new report which has been released this week by an eminent cybersecurity firm, more than 948 U.S. government agencies, educational institutions, and healthcare business firms have been affected by this ransom demands. It was as always unexpected and unforeseen and had cost them at a potential cost of more than $ 7.5 billion.  New Jersey’s largest hospital system and New Orleans are among the freshest ransom demands victims. Hackensack Meridian Health, which operates in 17 hospitals and other facilities, said on Friday that it had paid a large amount of money to save their documents and data from ransom demand attacks and they had insurance amounts kept aside for that.

The officials of Pensacola became aware of the cyber attack in the city and its security system at about 1:30 a.m., Saturday. Ever since, information technology technicians have been working days and nights, relentlessly to restore services as city officials continued to take out the lead of the attacks bearing ransom demands if any, and determine what exactly has been stolen by hackers and what are the ways to retrieve those. Lagarde is reluctant to disclose whether any personal or financial data was theft. She said the city would notify residents and customers as it is their very own responsibility to shield the citizens.

Source: Washington Post

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