North Miami Beach

North Miami Beach Police Department Hit With Ransomware Attack

NBCUniversal, Inc.

The North Miami Beach Police Department was hit with a ransomware attack and is now being told to pay millions to regain access to information it stored online.

The department said in a statement Friday that it was impacted by ransomware earlier that week and contacted the FBI, Secret Service and the Miami-Dade Police Department to investigate.

"The most important thing to know is that there has been no interruption in public safety services in the City of North Miami Beach," the department said in the statement. "Our police department continues to conduct all operations to keep our residents and streets safe, and citizen calls for assistance will continue to be responded to promptly."

The department said it appears no other department or city service has been affected.

A source told NBC 6 the attackers demanded $5 million from the department to get the information back online. Meanwhile, the department has resorted to old-school methods such as writing reports by hand.

The city said it is investigating whether the personal information of any resident, employee or vendor was accessed or acquired.

North Miami Beach is at least the fourth Florida city that has been held hostage due to a ransomware attack. Lake City has paid $460,000 and Riviera City $600,000 to get its computer systems back up and running after hackers got a hold of their information. In Miami-Dade, Key Biscayne was also the target of a ransomware attack.

"It's just incredibly profitable for hackers to mount these ransomware attacks because of the profitability of it," said Brian Fonseca, FIU's Cybersecurity Director.

Several officers told NBC 6 that there were concerns the police department’s computer systems were potentially vulnerable, and the city addressed the concerns back in November.

One commissioner said she is concerned about officers not having the usual information they have for addresses, such as warrants and criminal history — and that could affect an officer’s safety. 

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