Hackers seize database from City of Detroit, demand $800k in bitcoin

Mayor of Detroit Mike Duggan announced this week that hackers took control of one of the city’s digital databases earlier in the year.

Hackers demanded a ransom of 2,000 bitcoins ($800,000) in return for the database. Given the current financial situation that Detroit is in, though, it’s not surprising that the city ignored them. It was also announced that the stolen database was not used or needed by the city.

“It was a good warning sign for us,” Duggan said at the North American International Cyber Summit.

This isn’t the only attack that Michigan has faced. The Michigan state government suffers 500,000 computer attacks every day, including spam, web browser attacks, and network intrusions. Duggan has publicly expressed his belief in the need for vast improvements across the city.

“It was pretty disturbing what I found,” the mayor said of the technology the city currently relies on. “I found the Microsoft Office system we had was about ten years old and couldn’t sync the calendar to my phone.”

“We’re in the early stages of ramping up,” he said.

The decision to ‘ramp up’ hasn’t just been based on this recent attack. Duggan added that another attack occurred when an unnamed person involved in last year’s historic bankruptcy was the victim of a cyber attack that involved money being stolen from that individual’s bank account.

In my opinion, a city holding onto data that it doesn’t use or need anymore is a big enough problem in itself. What’s worse is that nobody yet knows what data was held in the database.