Hackers who hit city networks demand $2.5 million in ransom

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Keene Mayor Gary Heinrich said this week that the hackers who have installed ransomware on computer networks in various Texas cities are seeking a collective $2.5 million in ransom, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The hackers have locked 22 local governments out of their own networks and the Texas Department of Information Resources is investigating the issue with the aid of the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. Officials believe the attacks were a coordinated effort, but they haven’t said which cities were hit.

Heinrich called the hackers “stupid people” in an interview with NPR, adding that the city just outside Fort Worth will not pay the ransom. He said the city’s systems were hit through a third-party software provider and that the attack has left Keene unable to process utility payments.

Borger, in the Panhandle, has revealed that it was one of the cities hit. City spokeswoman Marisa Montoya told the Chronicle that the city has cybersecurity insurance, which covers ransom payments, though she declined to say whether Borger will pay the ransom.

While Borger can’t accept credit card payments due to the attacks, it has successfully salvaged parts of its network, including 911 and radio systems, the newspaper reported.  

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