This past Thursday, March 22, the city of Atlanta’s computer networks were hit with a ransomware cyberattack. Today, the attack is ongoing, affecting mostly its justice department.
As news of the cyberattack unfolded, it became clear that there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding the extent of the attack. Even now, the city’s Twitter account is reporting on various divisions’ status, one tweet at a time.
Cyberattackers encrypted city data and caused outages throughout various departments. “A screenshot sent to 11Alive from a city employee and analyzed by technical expert and Kennesaw State University professor Andrew Green, shows a Bitcoin demand of $6,800 per unit, or $51,000 to unlock the entire system,” reports NBC affiliate 11Alive.
Neither the mayor nor any other officials are saying whether or not the ransom will be paid. Investigators and security experts typically advise against it because there’s no guarantee that hackers will give you your data back and because it opens you up for further attacks.
Georgia Public Broadcasting reports that workers at City Hall are not able to process payments or log on to their computers. And meanwhile, people who show up to get copies of records are being turned away and others who appear for municipal court are told they’ll be rescheduled.
Despite saying there’s no evidence that customer or employee data has been compromised, city officials are advising anyone who has done business with the city to check credit and bank statements.
As a precautionary measure, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, known as the busiest airport in the world, has taken its public Wi-Fi down. The airport was not part of the city government’s cyberattack.
Read more at 11Alive.