Oklahoma lawmakers consider adding ransomware to list of cyber crimes

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Servers are pictured at the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services Data Center in Oklahoma City.

On a Monday morning in January 2019, an employee at The Village city hall discovered a network server locked down without a way in. 

A hacker found their way into the server and launched a ransomware attack the night before. They left contact information and a message: If you want your server back, pay up. 

“Obviously we didn’t call the number,” said The Village City Manager Bruce Stone. “I assume what would happen then if you call the number is they’d tell you how to get bitcoins or something to make a payment.” 

Stone’s hunch might have been right. A common theme among ransomware hackers is to lock down a system and only open it back up upon payment – often using the Bitcoin cryptocurrency because it’s harder to identify who’s behind transactions.