The New York Times by Frances Robles
July 7, 2019
LAKE CITY, Fla. — Audrey Sikes, city clerk of Lake City, Fla., has a thing for documents: She does not like losing them.
It falls to Ms. Sikes, as official custodian of records for this city of 12,000 people about an hour west of Jacksonville, to maintain Lake City’s archives. She keeps a log of public record requests and has spreadsheets that track things like property deeds and building permits. She spent years digitizing all the papers of a city that incorporated before the Civil War.
“It’s everything I do,” Ms. Sikes said.
More than 100 years’ worth of municipal records, from ordinances to meeting minutes to resolutions and City Council agendas, have been locked in cyberspace for nearly a month, hijacked by unidentified hackers who encrypted the city’s computer systemsand demanded more than $460,000 in ransom.
Weeks after the city’s insurer paid the ransom, the phones are back on and email is once again working, but the city has still not recovered all of its files. There is a possibility that thousands of pages of documents that had been painstakingly digitized by Ms. Sikes and her team will have to be manually scanned, again.