The small town of Wasaga Beach, Ontario, was forced to pay the equivalent of $35,000 to hackers who had taken control of its computer servers.
In a report presented Tuesday by the city’s chief financial officer and treasurer, Jocelyn Lee, we learn that the Wasaga Beach computer system was hit by a computer virus on April 30th that completely paralyzed its ability to access data contained in its 11 servers.
The hackers behind this attack then claimed a total of 11 bitcoins, the equivalent of about $144,100 at that time. After bitter negotiations that lasted about seven weeks and after consulting computer experts, the city finally resolved to pay 3 bitcoins to the attackers, worth $34,950, so to recover access to four servers.
The cost of this piracy, however, is much higher. By calculating the ransom, the loss of employee productivity, overtime and the cost of consulting experts, the City estimates that this mishap cost her just over $250,000.
The City agreed to pay the ransom for lack of a better alternative. “It would have cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars, because we should have started from scratch to recreate everything [our computer system],” said the executive director of Wasaga Beach, in an interview with CTV News.
By recovering its data, the City was able to put back its computer system. It ensures that it is now better protected against a possible attack.
Wasaga Beach is a small town of approximately 20,000 souls located on the southern shores of Georgian Bay, just under 150 kilometers north of Toronto.
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