Racine Mayor Refuses to Pay Cyber-Ransom

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The mayor of a Wisconsin city in the grips of a ransomware attack has said that any demands for a ransom payment will not be met. 

Computer systems in the city of Racine were infected with ransomware on Friday morning. As a result, the city's website, email, voicemail, and payments systems have been knocked offline. 

Citizens are being encouraged to conduct their business in person at City Hall during a recovery process that officials say could take over a week to complete.

"If you need to interact electronically, for all intents and purposes, this week we need you to go back to an older, more analog time," Racine Mayor Cory Mason said on Monday. "Come on into City Hall, say hello."

The city is yet to receive a ransom demand from whomever was behind the cyber-attack. 

"While we have received this ransomware in our system, we have not received a specific ransomware request. And, if we did receive such a request, we would not pay it," said Mason. 

The mayor added that Racine has a cyber-insurance policy, which should cover the city for most of the expenses incurred restoring computer services.

While over 700 city employees have been impacted by the cybersecurity incident, the city's library and emergency dispatch departments are continuing to operate as normal. 

Racine Police reported being unable to process fee payments or provide copies of police or accident reports in a Facebook post.

State and federal agencies have been notified of the incident, and an investigation into how the attack occurred and who was behind it is currently under way. 

Mason said: "We've been doing forensics on all of our systems citywide. For now, most systems are offline; this includes our website, email, and voicemail."

The mayor said the city was not aware of any sensitive data's having been exposed as a consequence of the ransomware attack.

"It appears that none of our backup data has been breached; that includes all personal identification information and files," said Mason.

Racine is the second Wisconsin city to suffer a ransomware attack in a week, after Oshkosh was hit last Tuesday in a similar incident. Neither city has so far received an actual ransom demand.

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