St. Cloud is the latest Florida city hit by ransomware


Another Florida city has announced a cyberattack, joining two other cities that have faced incidents in recent months.

The town of Saint-Cloud said Monday he discovered a ransomware attack affecting city services and warned that while “many” city services are affected, they are “operating as best as possible until the issue is resolved.” St. Cloud is located about an hour south of Orlando and has a population of 60,000.

“In-person payments for Parks and Recreation events and services are also temporarily cash only. Online facility reservation payments and online event registrations still accept credit card payments,” the release said.

“Police and firefighters respond to calls for service. Payment for services at the transfer station will temporarily be cash only, and all trash and recycling collection routes will operate as scheduled.

The Osceola County Tax Collector’s Office and outside utility providers like the Toho Water Authority and OUC were not affected by the attack.

Florida state officials are involved in responding to the incident but did not respond to a request for comment. No hacker group took credit for the incident.

The St. Cloud attack comes days after the Pensacola city government similarly said it was facing widespread phone outages. due to a cyber attack. Jacksonville Beach confirmed last week that it faced a ransomware attack in January.

Ransomware expert Allan Liska said there were 256 publicly announced ransomware attacks against state and local governments in 2023, compared to 196 attacks in 2022.

“After a few years of these attacks slowing down or even decreasing, they definitely seem to be on the rise,” Liska said.

“It’s too early in the year to predict where things will end up for the whole year. Currently, the number of attacks is declining, with only 36 publicly reported. But there is often a lag in reporting attacks, so we expect the numbers to increase.

Like many major U.S. states, Florida’s institutions have faced a barrage of relentless attacks. THE State Supreme Court, one of the largest hospitals in the region, a sheriff’s office And Florida International University have all been defeated by ransomware gangs. This fall, a government water agency And a circuit court shut down following ransomware attacks.

Florida is one of the few states in the United States to ban government entities payment of ransoms linked to cyberattacks.

The 2022 law requires all Florida government agencies and departments to report ransomware incidents within at least 12 hours and requires organizations to provide detailed information about the data stolen and the ransom demanded.

Toward the end of the bill, lawmakers said that a “state agency…county or municipality facing a ransomware incident cannot pay or comply with a ransom demand.”

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