Detroit's mayor tells international cybersecurity conference of attack on city database

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DETROIT — Someone attacked an unused Detroit government database earlier this year, freezing it and holding it for ransom, Mayor Mike Duggan said Monday during a cybersecurity conference.

"It was a good warning sign for us," Duggan added, telling participants at the North American International Cyber Summit at Cobo Center that Detroit is working to update its computer systems and technology.

The ransom request was for 2,000 bitcoins, an encrypted digital currency with an equivalent value of more than $803,000, according to The Detroit News. The ransom wasn't paid.

Including spam and network intrusion, Michigan state government suffers more than 500,000 computer attacks each day, according to the state.

"We need to get everyone involved, not just the government," Gov. Rick Snyder said at the summit, which looked at cybersecurity issues in government, business and other sectors.

He announced that the state's Cyber Civilian Corp. — information technology experts trained to respond to a major cybersecurity attack — is being expanded to a dozen teams.

Michigan also has command center within the state police to investigate cyberattacks, he added.

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