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A laptop displays a message after being infected by ransomware as part of a worldwide cyberattack on June 27, 2017 in Geldrop, Netherlands. (Representational image). VOA

A second small city in Florida has agreed to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in ransom to cybercriminals who disabled its computer system.

Days after ransomware crippled the city of about 12,000 residents, officials of Lake City agreed this week to meet the hackers’ ransom demand: 42 Bitcoin or about $460,000.


Last week, River Bench, in Palm Beach County, paid $600,000 in Bitcoin to retrieve its data. In both cases, most of the money will be paid by insurance companies.

On Thursday, Key Biscayne, a third Florida city, said it too had been targeted by a cyberattack. But city officials said it had managed to restore most of its computer systems by late Wednesday.


FILE – A screenshot shows a WannaCry ransomware demand, provided by cybersecurity firm Symantec, in Mountain View, California, May 15, 2017. VOA

Ransomware, a type of malicious software designed to deny access to a computer system or data until a ransom is paid, is becoming an epidemic in the public sector.

The cybersecurity firm Recorded Future reported in May that 170 city, county or state government systems have been attacked since 2013.

Ransomware attacks are not limited to small cities. Baltimore, a city of more than 600,000, has been fighting a cyber breach since May. The city refused to pay the $80,000 ransom that the hackers demanded. Instead, it has spent $18 million on data recovery.

Similarly, the city of Atlanta spent nearly $17 million after it was targeted in March 2018.

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In November, the FBI indicted two Iranian men in a computer hacking and extortion scheme that targeted cities like Atlanta and Newark, N.J., in addition to the Port of San Diego, the Colorado Department of Transportation and six health care-related organizations. The estimated losses added up to more than $30 million.

WannaCry attack

One of the largest ransomware attacks was WannaCry, which encrypted hundreds of thousands of computers in more than 150 countries in a matter of hours. It was the first time that ransomware had spread across the world in what looked like a coordinated cyberattack.


A second small city in Florida has agreed to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in ransom to cybercriminals. Pixabay

The British national health care system was especially hard hit by WannaCry, which caused thousands of hospitals to go offline. The attack also affected government systems, railway networks and private companies.

Also Read- Google Announces Auto-delete Controls for Location History

It was eventually traced to a group of hackers working for North Korea who used stolen highly classified hacking tools developed by the U.S. National Security Agency. (VOA)


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Indian wrestler Ravi Kumar (57kg) and Deepak Punia (86kg) enjoyed fruitful outings at the Tokyo Olympic Games as they secured semifinal berths in their respective weight categories at the Makuhari Messe on Wednesday.

On the opening day of the wrestling competition, Ravi Kumar defeated Bulgaria's Georgi Vangelov 14-4 on technical superiority to reach the last-four in the men's 57kg category, while compatriot Deepak Punia overcame China's Zushen Lin 6-3 on points to advance to the semifinals.

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Earlier, Ravi Kumar had won his opening-round bout by technical superiority against Colombia's Oscar Tigreros to secure a quarterfinal spot. Competing in the Round-of-16 bout against the Colombian wrestler, the 23-year-old Ravi Kumar, who is making his Olympic debut, showed no nerves as he dominated the bout to win by technical superiority (13-2).

Ravi Kumar landed attack after attack and went 13-2 up, winning the bout by technical superiority with minutes to spare. In wrestling, building up a 10-point lead over the opponent results in a victory by technical superiority.

India's 86kg freestyle wrestler Deepak Punia showed no signs of the niggle that had forced him to pull out of the Poland Open Ranking Series in Warsaw in June, as he defeated Nigeria's Ekerekeme Agiomor on technical superiority to secure a quarterfinal berth.

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Punia, who had also suffered an elbow injury just before the Games, was slow at the start but came into his own as the bout progressed, inflicting takedowns at regular intervals to earn points.

The Indian wrestler eased into a 4-1 lead at the break and extended his lead comfortably in the second period.

Punia, the silver medallist from the 2019 world wrestling championships, then set up a clash with China's Lin Zushen in the quarterfinals and defeated him 6-3.

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