This Town Was Knocked Offline South Africa's Illegal Gold 1 day ago   05:11

City officials in the sleepy West Texas border town of Del Rio arrived to work on January 10th to an ominous situation — their computers didn't work.

At first, it appeared that the internet wasn't functioning, but the city's IT department soon confirmed that their entire system had been encrypted, and hackers were asking for a ransom to unlock it.

Though hard numbers are hard to come by, ransomware, as it's known, appeared to enjoy a banner year in 2018, with cities such as Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina locked out of their data systems for weeks. "People who aren't computer savvy don't realize how big of a deal it is," Mayor Bruno "Ralphy" Lozano told VICE News.

As of writing, the city of Del Rio is still locked out of its servers, though Lozano tells us that the town's insurance successfully negotiated with the hackers to get their data back. Officials wouldn't say how much ransom was paid, but the town's IT department is keeping the city offline as a preventative measure until they determine if they should rebuild the system from the ground up.

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Comments 720 Comments

"People who aren't computer savvy don't realize how big of a deal it is," Mayor Bruno "Ralphy" Lozano told VICE News.
WATCH NEXT: How Israel Rules The World Of Cybersecurity -
Moscow Mitch refuses to bring protective legislation to the floor because he isn't worried about Russian cyber attacks on our elections. Hey, Moscow Mitch, if hackers can do this, what can Russians do to the 2020 election? Moscow Mitch is Putin's useful idiot.
so long and thanks for all the fish
Did they try unplugging it for 10 seconds and then plugging it back in?
Judith Riojas
I’m just curious what episode and season it is
Above the Lies
This was probably our own government testing their abilitys to take down a city.
Mike Foxtrot
Why does the Mayor have a Mexican flag in his office?
I wonder if they got this fixed.
What a stereotype, "Was it the Russians?".
Andres Osuna
Just 30 min away from my city i sometimes go there
Yo! I remember when this happened, I live here! scary stuff.
James S.
Yet IT is the first dept to get cut.
The mayor is something else...the Russians lol
guess that queer don't understand trolling sarcasm
Drastic Change
Why is there a Mexican flag inside a politicians office inside the United States?
Dj M3
Backup the system and data all the time!
Marie Jackson
I... don't remember this happening. 😂 Then again I barely pay attention here because it's not a great place.
Clinton Gwanyama
Please change your password from 123456 to Qwerty
Ben Russell
I work in IT. It was almost 100% random. Either someone made their system vulnerable by getting a virus a dozen different ways, or it was a random attack on an open network port, most likely RDP.
Elian Gonzalez
Never thought del rio would be on vice news
the problem of this town lies exclusively within it's administration.
they should've been accumulating regular automatic backups of sensitive data and when they've got compromised they must have reinstalled their software and recovered data from latest valid backup.
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South Africa's Illegal Gold This Town Was Knocked Offline 1 day ago   10:37

In the 1970s, South Africa was the world's most prolific exporter of gold. Over the years, industrial decline has seen widespread closures of the mines across the country.

However, Johannesburg sits on the biggest gold basin ever discovered. It's perhaps not surprising that many of these abandoned mines have seen a recent boom in illegal mining activity.

Everyday, hundreds of illegal gold miners, known as Zama Zamas, descend kilometers deep beneath the surface. The miners often spend weeks underground, toiling away at the country's untapped gold reserves. Observers have suggested that illegal mining is now so widespread, black-market gold arguably supports the communities once subsistent on the very same mines they worked in before they shut down.

The lack of policing in the mines has seen the practice go on largely unabated. However, in the absence of law enforcement, the extensive network of abandoned mines beneath the region has become an arena to deadly gang warfare between rival factions. VICE News visited illegal mines near Johannesburg, to meet the Zama Zamas risking life and limb everyday in the violent struggle for South Africa's illegal gold.

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