Bottoms: Ransomware incident 'attack on all of us'

Atlanta Georgia USA downtown city skyline

Atlanta Georgia USA downtown city skyline

"Many city employees have been without access to Internet and email since Thursday after hackers locked some of its systems and demanded a $51,000 payment".

An information portal has been set up on the city government's website to keep residents and employees updated on the latest developments of the hack. They typically like to choose targets that will most likely to agree to their ransom demands that is typically the equivalent of $50,000 in Bitcoin.

The FBI is monitoring the incident, federal officials confirmed previously.

Researchers working for Talos, a company that is investigating SamSam, say this is the first time the group "has publicly deleted or deactivated a portal prior to the seven-day clock expiring". "They just haven't shared any details at all".

The City of Atlanta is now experiencing outages on various customer facing applications, including some that customers may use to pay bills or access court-related information.

William Hatcher with Augusta University said there are at least some ways cities like Atlanta can prevent themselves from being fooled twice.

"This is certainly a very serious issue that is facing the city of Atlanta", said Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. "The audit concludes Atlanta had no formal processes to manage risk to its information systems". Michael R. Cote, President & CEO of Secureworks, an Atlanta-based firm called in to assist the city, said the city was transitioning into the recovery phase. The municipal court can't see cases. "Especially larger governments that have online bill payment where you can pay your taxes online - they're going to have financial data on citizens, property data on citizens, criminal justice data on citizens".

The Associated Press reports that the cyberattack has not affected police and fire emergency-response systems, water supply safety or airport safety. She said she told members of that team to pace themselves, describing the situation as a marathon rather than a sprint.

Of the organizations affected by ransomware in the past year, participants said they responded to an average of five attacks during that time period. Independent forensics experts and researchers from Georgia Tech are also lending a hand in the investigation.

Chief information officer Frank Johnson said: "We were able to successfully isolate the threat and ensure that no harm was done to other servers or systems across the city's network".

"The jail and many departments are running on pen and paper while there is no access to electronic records for municipal court".

Some services that are not available online can be accessed in person by coming to City of Atlanta offices.

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