WAKV(AM) in Otsego, Mich., is rebuilding its music files after a ransomware attack shut down the station.
Owner Jim Higgs operates the station out of his home; he tells mlive a virus encrypted the station’s computer data and a note demanded $500 to decrypt the files.
He deleted the message, and then lost all the station’s music, audio files, promos and ads — as well as his business records.
Higgs was able to recover most of the music files from another computer and the station was back on the air after about a day.
He believes financial damage from the hack will be minimal, but rebuilding all of the station’s files will be time-consuming and could take weeks.
Higgs tells mlive he wasn’t going to pay the offer to have his files unencrypted: “I had no assurance that even if I paid that my files would be any good. You don’t know that if you send $500 you’re going to get your files back the way they were.”
Computer experts warn about visiting new websites or advise users not to open certain email attachments to avoid allowing a virus to corrupt a computer.