US mayors adopt resolution to not pay hackers over ransomware attacks – CNET


US mayors say they will no longer negotiate with hackers.

Angela Lang/CNET

Mayors from across the US are trying to take a stand against the ransomware attacks that have crippled city government computer systems in recent years. More than 200 mayors have signed a resolution agreeing not to pay ransoms to hackers.

The resolution was adopted at the US Conference of Mayors annual meeting, which took place late June and early July in Honolulu. It was among dozens of resolutions covering issues such as gun control, housing and human rights that the 227 mayors who attended the meeting agreed to adopt.

“The United States Conference of Mayors stands united against paying ransoms in the event of an IT security breach,” the resolution reads.

The resolution could give city leaders across the US some leverage against hackers because the US Conference of Mayors represents more than 1,400 cities with populations over 30,000.

Ransomware attacks use malware to lock out users unless the hackers get paid, usually with bitcoin. Cities have been picked off one by one, with seemingly little recourse. They’ve been prime targets for ransomware attacks because cities can’t afford to let certain services remain frozen.

According to the resolution, there have been 22 ransomware attacks on city, county and state governments in 2019 alone. Hackers paralyzed government computers in Albany, New York, in April. Then in June, hackers targeted two Florida cities: Lake City and Rivera Beach. The city councils in both Florida cities agreed to pay the ransom that added up to more than $1 million. 

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