Mayor: Ransomware attacker demanded $5.3M in Bitcoin from New Bedford

SE Mass

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — The city of New Bedford’s computer system was recently attacked by ransomware that demanded a payment of more than $5 million in Bitcoin, Eyewitness News has learned.

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell revealed Wednesday that the ransomware attack launched in the early morning hours of July 5. He said the anonymous attacker demanded the city pay $5.3 million in Bitcoin.

When the attacker rejected a counter-offer of $400,000 – which would have been covered by insurance – Mitchell said the city’s Management Information Systems (MIS) team went to work to restore the systems themselves.

“We live in a world now that is so interconnected that simply pulling up the proverbial drawbridge is unrealistic,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said the situation could have been way worse, admitting the city was lucky because most of the computer were turned off because of the Fourth of July.

According to Mitchell, little to no data was lost despite the attack. He credited the quick actions by the city’s MIS team prevented the virus from spreading.

Since the attack, Mitchell said the city has taken steps to prevent it from happening again by enhancing network security and implementing new security practices and protocols.

“We must remain constantly vigilant and willing to devote the resources necessary to protect our system from a much more debilitating attack than the one we just experienced. I am committed to making sure our City does just that.”

At this time, Mitchell said the MIS team is assessing the internal impact of the attack on the city’s government.

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