City of Atlanta hit with cyberattack

Enlarge  The message posted to social media by the city of Atlanta in the wake of an apparent ransomware

Enlarge The message posted to social media by the city of Atlanta in the wake of an apparent ransomware

On Thursday morning, the city of Atlanta, Georgia, went under a sizable cyber attack that seriously compromised the city's computer systems, a local CBS affiliate reported.

The city's official Twitter account announced that the city government "is now experiencing outages on various customer facing applications, including some that customers may use to pay bills or access court-related information". While not directly affected by the cyberattack, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport took wi-fi offline as a precaution measure.

Bottoms and Cox said the attack caused outages to multiple internal and external applications for the city, including apps people use to pay bills and view court-related information. Cox said the investigation will determine whether any personal information has been compromised.

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. When asked during the press conference if the city would pay the ransom, Mayor Bottoms said she "can't speak to that right now".

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"The city of Atlanta has experienced a ransomware cyber attack", Richard Cox, the city's chief operating officer, announced at a news conference this afternoon. Our @ATL_AIM team is working diligently with support from Microsoft to resolve this issue. Lewis also said payroll will not be impacted. "We will be looking for guidance, specifically from our federal partners". They could easily decide to continue holding your data hostage until they are paid even more, leave themselves a backdoor to encrypt your data again at a later time, or encourage them to target other enterprises.

The agency's first step would be to give practical advice such as isolating the affected systems, preserving and protecting unaffected systems by taking them offline, as well as making sure backups are preserved and secure.

According to Engadget, ransomware locks and holds computers ransom for a specified amount of money, usually cryptocurrency.

- Fulton County government said they are blocking all electronic communications with the city of Atlanta following a ransomware cyberattack on the city's servers Thursday.

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