After suffering a ransomware attack that crippled municipal
systems, the city of Lake City in Florida, USA, has fired its director of
As the (updated) story goes, Lake City was initially hit
without a ransom demand from the attackers. As the city’s IT specialists worked
around the clock to recover, the perps made contact demanding 42 Bitcoins, or
roughly $460,000, in exchange for decrypting the infected computers. City
officials agreed to pay up through insurers.
As reported by WCJB: “The city paid a $10,000 deductible for the decryption key to restore their online systems. It was confirmed Friday that this resulted in one IT member being fired.”
That IT member was Brian Hawkins, the city’s director of
Lake City Mayor Stephen Witt provided no explanation for
Hawkins’ termination, saying only, “Our city manager did make a decision
to terminate one employee and he is revamping out whole it department to comply
with what we need to be able to overcome what happened this last week or so and
that’s so it doesn’t happen again.”
The WCJB report offers some extra details about the conundrum but fails to provide additional context around the IT director’s dismissal. It’s not unheard-of for a security chief to be fired in the wake of a cyber-attack, but certainly more context wouldn’t hurt in this instance.