SW council pays up to hackers

Bridgetown-Greenbushes Shire Council says it has taken steps to secure its computer systems after a cyber-attack on the Leisure Centre last month.

Investigations found hackers breached the centre’s system via a monitoring gateway used by software provider Phoenix, shire chief executive Tim Clynch said.

The hackers encrypted the centre’s membership data and demanded $2600 to unencrypt it.

“Our initial reaction to the ransom demand was not to pay criminals,” Mr Clynch said.

However, the advice of IT professionals, the council’s insurer and a specialist cyber-crime team was to pay the ransom, he said.

The costs of rebuilding the server and database were higher than the ransom demanded, and the advisers said data recovered after similar incidents was not copied or compromised.