PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) paid hackers $170,000 after a cyberattack last summer, officials said Thursday.

The security breach occurred in August and the stolen information includes the personal details for some state workers who have no ties to the public transit agency. It’s estimated more than 17,000 employees were affected.

Cristy Raposo Perry, a spokesperson for RIPTA, told 12 News in a statement: “RIPTA takes seriously the security and privacy of the information in our care, and we are continuing to take steps to strengthen our information security processes, including by further enhancing our security protocols, document retention practices and cybersecurity training for our employees.”

“RIPTA will continue to work with third-party vendors to ensure that sensitive information is not transmitted to RIPTA inappropriately in the future,” she added.

RIPTA sent letters to affected state employees – both current and retired – notifying them that suspected criminals accessed files related to the state’s health insurance billing plan which contained their personal information.

RIPTA has previously stated it took until Oct. 28 to determine whose information was compromised.

The R.I. Attorney General’s office is actively investigating the security breach. Lawmakers have raised questions about the time it took RIPTA to share information about the hack with those affected, with multiple bills filed to require faster notification.

Tolly Taylor ( is a Target 12 investigative reporter for 12 News. Connect with him on Twitter and on Facebook