Computer systems in the City of Atlanta were infected by ransomware, the cyber attack was confirmed by the City officials.
The city learned of the attack at around 5:40 am local time on Thursday.
On Thursday, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced on Thursday that a malware has taken in hostage some internal systems, city’s data were encrypted.
The ransomware infection has caused the interruption of several city’s online services, including “various internal and customer-facing applications” used to pay bills or access court-related information.
It is still unclear the current extent of the infection, but security experts fear other consequences for the citizens. The mayor recommended the city’s employees and anyone who had conducted transactions with the city to monitor their bank accounts fearing a possible data breach.
“Yesterday morning, computer trouble started interfering with the normal computer operations on the Atlanta government network.” states Forbes.
“Later on, mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called a press conference to clear the air. The source of the problem: a ransomware attack that had compromised multiple systems.”
“We don’t know the extent so we just ask that you be vigilant,” Bottoms explained in the news conference. “All of us are subject to this attack, if you will. Many of us pay our bills online, we have direct deposit, so go online and check your bank statements.”
Investigators believe that hackers initially compromised a vulnerable server, then the ransomware began spreading to desktop computers throughout the City network. Crooks demanded a payment of 6 Bitcoin, around $51,000 at the current rate,
New Atlanta Chief Operating Officer Richard Cox said that several departments have been affected.
“We don’t know the extent so we just ask that you be vigilant,” Bottoms said in a Thursday news conference. “All of us are subject to this attack, if you will. Many of us pay our bills online, we have direct deposit, so go online and check your bank statements.”
No critical infrastructure and services seem to be affected, the departments responsible for public safety, water, and airport services are operating as normal, however.