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The 10 Biggest Ransomware Attacks of 2019

Multinational manufacturers and U.S. city and county governments spent more $176 million responding to the biggest ransomware attacks of 2019, spending on everything from rebuilding networks and restoring backups to paying the hackers ransom.

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9. Jackson County, Ga.

Recovery And Mitigation Costs: $400,000

A Ryuk ransomware attack in early March locked nearly all Jackson County, Ga., agencies out of their systems, forcing many to carry out operations on paper. The attack impacted county law enforcement, resulting in computer screens at the 911 dispatch center going dark, county jail staff being unable to open cell doors remotely, and sheriff’s deputies losing the ability to use laptops to look up license plates.

As a result, guards had to go into cell blocks to open doors and escort inmates to family visits, which increased the risk to guards, according to county Sheriff Janis Mangum. And emergency dispatchers had to take notes by hand and rely on printed maps of the county and paper logs to keep track of emergency responders in the field, according to county E-911 director LouAnn David.

County Manager Kevin Poe made the decision to pay the $400,000 ransom after speaking with cybersecurity consultants, who advised that rebuilding networks from scratch could be a long and costly process. After paying, hackers sent Jackson County a decryption key that allowed county employees back into their computer systems, although dispatchers were without computers for two weeks.

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