Atlanta recovering from cyberattack, its second in 11 months

The city of Atlanta was hit with a ransomware cyberattack on March 22 -- its second in 11 months -- which locked down computer systems in exchange for $51,000. The ransom was not paid. File Photo by David Tulis/UPI

March 28 (UPI) — The city of Atlanta has been hit with two cyberattacks in the last 11 months — the latest last week, which forced officials to turn off their computers and use manual systems.

Officials say the most recent ransomware attack occurred March 22.

City employees were forced to shut down their computers for days, but switched them back on Tuesday. Not everything is back to normal, though. All court schedules were postponed on Wednesday.

The court dates will be rescheduled and all job applications have been suspended, the city announced on its Twitter account.

Officials said Wednesday there is no evidence that any resident or employee data had been compromised. Officials said police, fire, rescue, 911 and airport operations were unaffected.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bolton said this week the city was asked for a $51,000 ransom from unidentified hackers, but there was no formal confirmation of the ransom amount. She said the city made no payments, but “everything is up for discussion.”

“I just want to make the point that this is much bigger than a ransomware attack,” she said. “This is really an attack on our government, which means it’s an attack on all of us.”

SecureWorks, a private security company, is investigating the attack and working with the FBI, the Department of Homeland security and the U.S. Secret Service.

Georgia-based cybersecurity firm Rendition Infosec revealed on its Twitter account Tuesday that five city computers were also hacked last April, when computers worldwide were compromised in a large and fast-moving cyberattack.

Investigators believe the hacking tools had been stolen, possibly created by the National Security Agency, and were called “Eternal Blue” and “Double Pulsar.” Thousands of U.S. computers were hit.

Officials said while Atlanta unravels its computer problems, water bills and parking tickets cannot be paid, and employees are writing reports by hand with pen and paper.


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