City officials in the sleepy West Texas border town of Del Rio arrived to work on January 10th to an ominous situation - their computers didn't work.
At first, it appeared that the internet wasn't functioning, but the city's IT department soon confirmed that their entire system had been encrypted, and hackers were asking for a ransom to unlock it.
Though hard numbers are hard to come by, ransomware, as it's known, appeared to enjoy a banner year in 2018, with cities such as Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina locked out of their data systems for weeks. "People who aren't computer savvy don't realize how big of a deal it is," Mayor Bruno "Ralphy" Lozano told VICE News.
As of writing, the city of Del Rio is still locked out of its servers, though Lozano tells us that the town's insurance successfully negotiated with the hackers to get their data back. Officials wouldn't say how much ransom was paid, but the town's IT department is keeping the city offline as a preventative measure until they determine if they should rebuild the system from the ground up.
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Feb 8, 2019