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Stuart City in Florida is still recovering from Ransomware attack


The City of Stuart is yet to fully recover from the ransomware virus attack that struck the city on April 13, 2019, said David Dyess, the city manager, on April 22, 2019. As per the officials, the ransomware attack targeting Stuart city is supposed to have started from phishing email scam.


The ransomware attack has affected the city servers as well as the computers. However, the good news is the City emergency services, which include 911, remain unaffected. Dyess said that residents who pay online bills are also safe, as the credit card details are never stored on the city servers.


A computer virus called Ryuk has attacked the Stuart city's servers, and then forced them offline. The City Manager also confirmed that this ransomware asked for money in Bitcoin form, and added that City of Stuart will not pay ransom demand.


The ransomware attack is getting investigated by the FBI, Dyess said. However, he did not disclose how much Bitcoin ransom is demanded in order to unfreeze the Stuart city's servers. Though he did said that an infected machine is getting analyzed by the investigators to find how this virus got in.


"We found a computer that would re-infect itself after we cleaned it and we're believing that is our primary culprit. We're conducting testing on that machine to see if we can find what's called the root-kit to find out how it got in originally," Dyess said after the meeting on April 22, 2019.


Dyess told the city commissioners on the night of April 22, 2019, that the City employees still do not have access of their email accounts, although some other servers were restored. The IT department of Stuart city has restored the servers that operate budgeting, utilities, payroll and other important functions, Dyess said. However, the city's fire and police department personnel have been operating by using pencil and paper, until those servers were restored.


Dyess said that "all the data behind both the police department and the fire department's servers still exist". He added that "we were back up on the internet for a short time today ... so we are moving forward, probably I would say another week or week and a half we should be back in service".


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