Entire city popular with tourists shut down after hackers demand £10million ransom

A Spanish city popular with British tourists went into shutdown mode after mystery hackers attacked and demanded a £10million ransom.

Calvia on the island of Majorca had its council websites hacked via a ransomware attack last Saturday (January 13), with no group or individual claiming responsibility yet. Ransomware is a type of malware (malicious software) that permanently blocks access to the victim's personal data unless a ransom is paid.

The ransom in this case was a hefty £10million. In response, the city formed a crisis committee to evaluate the damage and formulate impact mitigation plans.

"The Calvià City Council is working to restore normality as soon as possible, after having been the target, in the early hours of last Saturday, of a ransomware cyberattack, through which they intend to extort the council," a spokesman said. Mayor Juan Antonio Amengual stated that a team of IT specialists was performing forensic analysis to estimate the extent of the damage.

The attack meant that the city suspended the administrative deadline for submitting allegations, requests, etc, until January 31, 2024.

"The City Council deeply regrets the inconvenience this situation may cause and reiterates its firm commitment to resolve the current situation in the most orderly, quick, and efficient manner possible," the statement adds.

"In any case, telephone and face-to-face communication is maintained normally."

The mayor claimed that the municipality would not be paying the ransom under any circumstances. Calvia has reportedly lodged an official complaint with the Telematic Crimes Group of the Guardia Civil.

One Brit commented on a local article about the attack, saying: "No need to pay one cent. Hire similarly skilled IT programmers to those who have hacked the system and they'll unhack it and install a barrier to future attempts.

"Pay them well for doing it and show hackers that Mallorca won't be held to ransom. As John Lennon sang 'There's nothing you can do that can't be done'." Every year more than 2.3 million British tourists enjoy holidaying on Majorca, ABC Mallorca reports.