Romanian local news reported on Monday, October 15, 2018, that unidentified hackers have penetrated Bucharest’s District 1 City Hall computer security systems. The hackers will release the exploited computers in exchange for Bitcoins. 2018 has seen the most cryptocurrency related cyber-attacks since the industry started in 2008.
The cybercrooks used infected emails to gain access to the City Halls computer systems. While the specific amount requested to free the ransomed computers is undisclosed, Dan Tudorache, the mayor of District 1, commented that the amount of Bitcoin demanded is indeed large.
Since the attack on Monday, the hackers may need to come up with alternative means of generating money, as the City Hall’s IT team, have already reclaimed nearly half the computers infected. The team have projected that before the week ends, all of the computers will be back under control and return to full function, leaving the hackers holding an empty bag.
This is not the first attempt to Romania’s City Hall. Hackers had attempted to extort a ransom from the government last year, however that heist ended in failure as no ransom was paid.
These targets are becoming more enticing for criminals, because in the past, in order to receive a payment, it was through a bank account of PayPal, or in an impractical way, cash. Now, cyber-criminals can utilize the pseudonymous nature of cryptos to weaken the paper trail leading to the final beneficiary.