The City of St. Anthony will be upgrading its email and computer system threat protection after an unsuccessful hacking attempt that occurred last month.
“They were knocking at our door,” said City Clerk Patty Parkinson. “They were there trying to get in.”
During the city council meeting on April 22, Parkinson announced to the council that she got a call from the FBIa informing her that hackers were trying to gain access to the city’s online system.
“At first when I got the call I was like ‘yeah right, whoever you are —Mr. FBI’,” Parkinson said. “Here we are in little St. Anthony, Idaho but the thing that’s happening is they’re getting people. That’s how they make their money and they’re busy.”
Ransomware is a type of malicious software or malware, used by hackers, that prevents an individual, agency or business from accessing computer files, systems or networks, according to the FBI. Hackers then demand a ransom for the return of access.
In 2019, the city of Riviera Beach, Florida, paid nearly $600,000 in ransom to hackers who took control of the city’s computer system.
The city has had hackers attack its website before. Parkinson said she once got a call from an anonymous hacker that wanted a ransom payment to give back control to the city’s website in 2016. She did not give in to the ransom and told the hackers the city would handle its business physically, informing them that they could have the website.
Little did the hackers know they had taken control of the website for St. Anthony, Idaho when they were trying to take over the website for St. Anthony, Minnesota, she said.
“I finally drove down to them that we weren’t St. Anthony, Minnesota. The next day everything was fine, up and running. Didn’t cost us a dollar,” Parkinson said.
The hackers were angry at a St. Anthony, Minnesota police officer who shot a black man at a traffic stop and wanted to retaliate against the city and its police department by taking control of the city’s website, Parkinson said. The officer was charged with second-degree manslaughter but was found to be not guilty.
“After that, I walked into…