The Voice • October 2017


On Monday, September 18th, Montgomery County offices in Alabama realized they had been struck with Ransomware – the strike virtually locked down all county offices. The hackers gave the office one week to pay the given amount in ransom. During that week, the county’s security officials attempted to restore the computer systems to avoid paying. Reportedly, the strike had greatly reduced administrative power, leaving offices without the ability to issue vehicle tags, car registrations, or marriage and business licenses.

Lou Ialacci, Montgomery’s chief IT officer explained that his team did all that it could to retrieve the county data but ultimately they were forced to pay the ransom. Once the $37,000 ransom was paid to the hackers, access was returned to the nearly 70 terabytes of data which had an estimated value of $5 million.

Ialacci stated that “if you pay them, that’s your punishment for letting them in”, referring to the notion that a county could be subject to a similar attack if they haven’t taken the proper security measures. Ialacci stated their future plans to increase the security of their offices, “we are going to start backups today, take precautionary measures, and be a lot more stringent than before.” [1]

In regards to the Ransomware phenomenon, the FBI have made statements on their Cyber Crime webpage in regards to not paying hacker ransoms, “paying a ransom doesn’t guarantee an organization that it will get its data back-there have been cases where organizations never got a decryption key after having paid the ransom.” [2]

To see a list of Ransomware attacks that have happened within the U.S. during 2017, click here.