For the last five days, some New Bedford City Hall computers have been down due to a virus.

Experts are figuring out the nature and scope of the disruption, and so far the City hasn't commented on whether or not they found any evidence of ransomware like Emotet, the virus that recently infected Allentown, Pennsylvania city computers. That one was an especially pernicious program that spread via infected email attachments and has been attacking banks, hospitals and other industries.

The good news, so far, is there's no evidence that local residents' personal data was stolen and there's no proof the system was hacked.

The effect and cost on Allentown, beyond the estimated $1 million to fix the problem, was tough on a medium-sized municipality. In New Bedford, it's not clear what it will cost to fix, and how it will affect people who do business with us.

For the record, the Elk Cloner–the first computer virus–has spread like wildfire to do damage across the globe for decades. Just the other day, I was asking listeners if they'd be willing to shell out a ransom, the way Riviera Beach, Florida voted to do to get their data back. Most said no. But it shouldn't be surprising that insurance carriers are offering this as hacking becomes more prevalent.

Comparing today's remarkable technology, I still can't help but sneak a peek into my past when memory was something we lost with age, a cursor had to do with profanity, a hard drive was a long, bumpy road trip and a mouse pad was where mice lived, back in those days before the computer.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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