Hackers seized a digital database from the city of Detroit earlier this year and then demanded they receive a ransom in bitcoin, Mayor Mike Duggan said this week, but the city balked and ultimately the hijackers were unsuccessful with their request.

Duggan, who was elected last year to lead the Motor City after a headline-making bankruptcy filing, explained at a conference on Monday this week that hackers had asked for hundreds of thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency after compromising a city database back in April. The pilfered database wasn’t used or needed by the city, however, The Detroit News reported, so the ransom was never paid.

Speaking at the North American International Cyber Summit, Duggan said the incident from earlier this year made him realize that sensitive information needs to be stored more securely.

“It was a good warning sign for us,” he told his audience at the conference, Detroit News journalist Holly Foumier reported.

According to the Associated Press, Duggan said the hackers asked for 2,000 bitcoins after seizing the database, worth roughly $803,000.

Unfortunately for the city, such attacks aren’t isolated, either. The Michigan state government suffers around 500,000 computer attacks every day, the AP reported, and Duggan believes that improvements are needed across the board.

“It was pretty disturbing what I found,” the mayor said with respect to the type of technology the city currently relies on. “I found the Microsoft Office system we had was about 10 years old and couldn’t sync the calendar to my phone.”

“We’re in the early stages of ramping up,” he said. “The stakes in play in the state and in the country are enormous.”


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