GALT (CBS13) — It could happen to any town at any time and it comes with a hefty price tag — nearly two months after hackers hit the City of Galt’s computer systems, CBS13 has learned the cost to recover is anything but small.
The Galt is rich in many things, both a sense of community and the small-town feel, but when it comes to money, the town of 20,000 is no metropolitan.
“When you have a criminal act that costs so much money, it’s an absolute waste,” said Thomas Haglund, Galt’s interim city manager.
The town was hit by a ransomware attack on December 16, 2019. Galt locals including Gary Besceen say privacy is hard to protect these days.
“Nothing is safe anymore it seems like,” Besceen said. “No matter what.”
Nearly two months after the attack on the city’s computer system, the town is now in recovery mode. The good news is no data was stolen, but the bad news is that it still comes with a price and a big one at that.
“Not only a city of this size but a city that has a stressed budget,” said Haglund.
READ: How To Prevent Hackers From Spying On Your Family Through Your Ring Cameras
It costs an estimated $758,000 to replace server and network supplies among other things. Those who call Galt home feel that sense of sticker shock.
“Not a very good figure but obviously it’s necessary,” said Besceen.
CBS13 asked the city where that money is coming from. Their answer: the city’s $13 million general fund. It’s still a big blow to a budget they’ve worked hard to boost in recent years.
“We’re now building a big two-year budget,” said Haglund. “This puts a big hole in that we have to figure out how to recover from.”
Still, there’s concern and worry about where else that money could be going.
“Funds that could go to the schools, police, more appropriate places,” said Eric DeWit, who lives in the area.
ALSO: Grieving Daughter’s Car Stolen From Roseville Hospital Lot
Haglund told CBS13 there won’t be any cuts elsewhere. He said they’re prepared with reserves for emergencies like these, but ones the city wishes they didn’t have to use.
“We can’t control Mother Nature,” said Haglund. “But we should be able to control human behavior enough to not purposely inflict damage on others.”
The City of Galt is also hoping their cyber insurance reimburses a lot of these costs.
When it comes to preventing these types of attacks in other towns, the Department of Homeland Security told Galt it’s hard to do no matter how robust their cybersecurity system is. Privacy comes at a premium – so the more they spend on security, the better off they’ll be.