Kansas County Spends More $70K To End Cyberattack

WESTMORELAND, Kan. (AP) — A northeast Kansas county paid more than $70,000 to end a cyberattack that crippled its computer systems for about two weeks.

Pottawatomie County administrator Chad Kinsley said the attackers had demanded more than $1 million, The Topeka Capital-Journal reports.

Kinsley said the county told the hackers that it was small, with just about 25,000 residents, and couldn’t even come close to meeting their demand.

Instead, it paid $71,250 to the attackers and $356.25 in exchange fees, the county announced in a news release Monday.

Problems began Sept. 17 when the ransomware attack encrypted several servers.

The county’s insurance carrier paid most of the ransom and the county covered the rest, said spokesperson Becky Ryan. Restoration efforts began last week.

The county also spent $5,000 to buy enhanced decryption software needed to unlock the files that the hackers had encrypted, Kinsley said.

“We believe that now we are much less vulnerable to any subsequent attack," Kinsley said.

The cyberattack remains under investigation, and the identity of the attackers is unknown.