Atlanta is the latest local government to have its computer system attacked by hackers. The criminals are demanding $51,000 in Bitcoin to remove their ransomware.
It’s been a quiet few months on the ransomware front. The last notable attack targeted a hospital in Indiana back in January, but now a new target has been hit. The city government of Atlanta, Georgia, reports that their computer system was targeted by hackers in a ransomware attack.
The City of Atlanta is currently experiencing outages on various customer facing applications, including some that customers may use to pay bills or access court-related information. We will post any updates as we receive them. pic.twitter.com/kc51rojhBl
— City of Atlanta, GA (@Cityofatlanta) March 22, 2018
No Joy in Dixie
The attack hit the city’s computer system early Thursday morning. The systems that were targeted were those that people use to pay bills as well as access data from the court system.
City employees were handed printouts when they showed up for work, stating that they should not use their computers until the city’s IT department cleared them. City officials have warned employees and citizens who have used the computer system to monitor their bank accounts and to change their passwords.
Officials do not know who was behind the ransomware attack, but they have received a demand from the hacker(s). The city of Atlanta can pay $6,800 in Bitcoin per unit to unlock them or pay a grand total of $51,000 to unlock everything.
Working Hard to Fix
City officials have no plans to pay off the hackers over the ransomware attack and are working to resolve the issue. In a statement, the local government said:
At this time, our Atlanta Information Management team is working diligently with support from Microsoft to resolve the issue. We are confident that our team of technology professionals will be able to restore applications soon. Our city website, Atlantaga.gov, remains accessible and we will provide updates as we receive them.
The city of Atlanta is working with the Department of Homeland Security, Microsoft, Cisco, and the FBI to determine exactly which data has been compromised and to, hopefully, find a solution.
Atlanta is just the latest in a growing fraternity whose membership relies upon being the victim of a ransomware attack. As stated above, a hospital in the state of Indiana was hit by hackers early this year. The latter half of 2017 saw multiple ransomware attacks: credit agency Equifax targeted in September with a ransom demand for $2.3 million, the Sacramento Regional Transit system in November to the tune of a single bitcoin, and the county government of Mecklenburg, North Carolina, getting hit in December with hackers demanding a payment of two bitcoins.
How long do you think it will take Atlanta to solve this ransomware attack? Will such hacks become more common in the future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Pixabay, YouTube@11Alive, and Twitter/@Cityofatlanta.