$1.1M paid to resolve ransomware attack on California county

A ransomware attack on a California county's computer systems prompted a $1.1 million payment to regain access to important files.

SAN BERNARDINO (AP) - A ransomware attack against a California law enforcement computer system was resolved with a $1.1 million payment.

Southern California News Group


In April, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department reported that an investigation was underway by information technology and forensics specialists into a "network disruption" and that both the FBI and Department of Homeland Security had been notified.

The news group reported that David Wert, county spokesperson, said that the county paid $511852, and the rest was covered by insurance.

Wert stated that the decision to pay was carefully considered.

Gloria Huerta, spokesperson for the Sheriff's Department, said that an investigation continues to try and determine if any information has been stolen and if the ransom payments can be traced in order to identify the hacker.

Shannon Dicus, the Sheriff of Washington County, said that ransomware did not compromise public safety but hindered certain tasks.

Dicus explained that deputies could not access the system that provided information about whether someone was wanted for crimes committed elsewhere in the nation, and so had to ask other agencies to check the records.

Ransomware is a type of cybercrime where hackers hold a computer hostage, encrypting the files and demanding remittance in exchange for obtaining the key.