RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — The City of Riviera Beach was in the process of upgrading its cyber security and backup system at the time a hacker launched a ransomware attack, according to the city council chair.
Last month, a police department employee opened a bad email, allowing a virus to spread and take down the city's entire computer system.
Council members made the controversial decision to pay the hacker a bitcoin ransom using money from an insurance policy in the hopes that the hacker would give them access back.
Council Chair Kashamba Miller-Anderson said it appears to be working and their computers are coming back online.
"We are definitely getting things back on track," she said.
Back in February, the Riviera Beach interim IT Director told city officials that their computer system was vulnerable and needed a better back up system.
"Our current backup solution is more susceptible to security concerns and ransomware viruses," Justin Williams told the council during a Feb. 20 meeting.
At that time, the council authorized nearly $800,000 to upgrade Riviera Beach's backup system.
Miller-Anderson said their IT department was in the process of installing that new system when the hacker hit.
"From my understanding, the parts did come in in late April," she said. "They were in the process of installing all of that equipment."
During public comment at Wednesday night's meeting, residents asked city officials for an update on the computer restoration.
Miller-Anderson said they were limited in what they could say due to an ongoing investigation into the hack.
Late into the meeting, Mayor Ronnie Felder announced his recommendation to suspend Interim Police Chief Michael Madden.
Felder did not disclose his reasons why and it's not clear if it has anything to do with the ransomware attack.
Felder said he will explain his recommendation at the next city council meeting July 17, when the recommendation will be up for a vote.