On This Day 26 June

By TheBoldAge. Published 2020-06-26
In 1498 the toothbrush was invented; in 1843 Hong Kong Island was ceded to the UK; in 1977 Elvis performed for the last time and in 1997 we first discovered Harry Potter. A bit more recently though, in 2019, a Florida town paid US$600k to hackers to unfreeze their systems

46% of businesses have had a cyber security breach or attack in the last 12 months [1]

Rivieria Beach is a city in the Palm Beach County in Florida with a population of about 32,000.


In 2019 they were subject to ransomware by a hacker who managed to encrypt their data. This resulted in chaos with the local police and fire departments even resorting to having to write down the daily 911 calls. The source of the ransomware was tracked down to an employee who clicked on a link in an email without realising that it was a hacking attempt.

The ransom was 65 Bitcoins which was the equivalent of about US$600k at the time. The city had insurance which paid out, resulting in a cost to the town of a premium of $25k.

See the "anatomy of ransomware"

Hacking attempts are on the rise and there are things that you can do to protect yourself.

  1. Make sure your operating systems are up-to-date (make sure you've got the latest operating system updates)
  2. Use antivirus (there is a built in AV with Windows but you may want to look at a more robust commercial alternative - e.g. Norton, MacAfee)
  3. Backup your important files (separate to the files on your computer); this could be to an external harddrive or to the cloud (make sure that you are not syncing the files locally as if they are encrypted then the encrypted files could overwrite the backedup files)

Should you pay?

It's not advised to pay. There's no guarantee that the criminals will give you access to your data and your device(s) may still be infected even if they do give you access to your data.

For more information have a look at the National Cyber Security Center website which has lots of useful information.

BBC: ransomware attack that cost £45m to fix

Other events on this day

  • 1498: toothbrush invented in China (boar bristles)
  • 1843: Treaty of Nanking came into effect with Hong Kong Island being ceded to UK in perpetuity
  • 1945: United Nations Charter signed in San Francisco
  • 1977: Elvis Presley performed in public for the last time
  • 1994: Yasser Arafat returned to Gaza after 27 years
  • 1997: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is published
  • 2019: Riviera Beach (a town in Florida) paid hackers US$600,000 to unfreeze their computer systems

[1] - UK Cyber Security Survey