Attacked council refuses to pay cyber ransom

Cyber attack

Lincolnshire County Council, the victim of a cyber attack last week, has confirmed that it will not be paying out a ransom.

The council’s digital database was struck down for a number of days following the attack, which reportedly affected approximately 300 staff computers – after an email containing the malware was opened.

While initial media reports suggested the ‘ransomware’, which encrypts data on the infected machines until the release sum is paid, asked for a £1m payment, the council said it was actually asked to pay $500 (£350) in Bitcoins.


Not paying

Judith Hetherington Smith, the council’s chief information officer, told the BBC: “We are not going to pay… we wouldn’t pay a ransom fee. As of Monday morning… we are expecting to be pretty close to normal.”

The council’s systems were closed down so they could not be compromised, according to Hetherington Smith, who added that 458 servers had been checked and 70 terabytes of data scanned to “to make sure it’s clean”.

All anti-virus software and security measures at the council are up to date, it says.


Zero-day attack

The attack is termed as a zero-day attack, so-called because it was malware previously unseen by security software providers.

Lincolnshire Police’s cyber crime unit is investigating the source of the crime.

Related reading