More than 225 mayors in the US have supported a resolution not to pay ransom to hackers, as reported by The New York Times. The resolution, entitled "Opposing Payment To Ransomeware Attack Perpetrators," states that mayors are "united against paying ransom in the event of an IT security breach."
The resolution came from the annual US Mayors' Conference, which took place in Honolulu from 28 June to 1 July. According to the statement, at least 170 district, city, or state government systems have been the target of ransomware attacks since 2013. These attacks use malware programs that make systems unusable, with the hacker (s) usually demanding payment in the form of cryptocurrency in exchange for restoring systems.
The resolution comes after nearly two dozen American cities were hit by ransomware attacks this year, including Lake City, Florida, which authorized a payment of 43 bitcoins to a hacker to regain access to his telephone and e-mail systems. Another recent, striking attack began in May in Baltimore, covering essential city systems through one phishing mail. The responsible hackers demanded 13 bitcoins (around $ 76,280 at the time, and now estimated at about $ 151,599) from the city. But Sheryl Goldstein, the deputy chief of the mayor for operations, was advised by the FBI not to pay the ransom, because "we would in any case bear a large part of these costs." It is estimated that the attack cost the city at least $ 18 million.
Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young sponsored the measure during this year's conference, say in a statement on Wednesday, "Paying ransom only gives rise to more people taking part in this kind of illegal behavior."
The American Conference of Mayors represents 1,407 cities, each with a population of more than 30,000. A universal proposition against paying bad actors is in line with the FBI recommendation, and could discourage future attacks against cities whose mayors have supported the measure.