Cyberattackers Freeze Detroit Database, Demand 2,000 Bitcoin Ransom

American Spirit /

There’s no doubt that Detroiters are a tough bunch, experiencing a historic rollercoaster ride through the nation’s largest municipal bankruptcy to date and facing a lengthy list of problems to attend to.

The latest challenge for Detroit’s leaders? Cyberattackers who have been holding a city database for ransom for 2,000 bitcoins since April.

During a speech at the North American International Cyber Summit being hosted in the Motor City on Monday, Mayor Mike Duggan disclosed the news of the cyberattack, The Detroit News reports. But the city won’t pay the bitcoin ransom—which is roughly valued at $803,500 according the current bitcoin valuation—because the now-frozen database wasn’t being used by the city.

The mayor said the ransom was a good “warning sign” that the resource-strapped city needs to do more to make sure its information systems are secure, according to the News. Duggan also noted that an individual involved in the city’s bankruptcy proceedings was the victim of a cyberattack that involved a “significant” amount of money being taken from their personal checking account.

Other speakers at the North American International Cyber Summit included Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, Michigan Chief Information Officer David Behen, former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and National Association of State Chief Information Officers Executive Director Doug Robinson.

Snyder, according to the Detroit Free Press, announced an expansion of the volunteer Michigan Cyber Civilian Corps, which can “be called on in an attack to come together in a team.” The state initially brought that group together in 2013.

(Image by American Spirit /


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