The city of Atlanta is reeling due to its computer systems being hacked by ransomware last week, and many city departments are still offline. The hackers responsible for the attack are demanding a ransom of $51,000 worth of Bitcoin. This type of brazen cyberattack by hackers shows just how confident cybercriminals are becoming.
An Early Morning Ransomware Attack
Atlanta officials first noticed a problem early in the morning around 6 AM on Thursday, March 22nd. A ransomware attack encrypted data and shut down multiple applications on the city’s network, including apps for citizens to pay bills and access court-related information.
The Ransom Note
Not long after the attack Hackers sent a ransom note to the city of Atlanta with a list of demands. The note instructed the city to send .8 Bitcoin for each city computer or 8 Bitcoins for all the city’s computers, this amount of Bitcoin is valued at $51,000.
After sending the Bitcoin, Atlanta officials will have to leave a comment on their own website with the provided hostname, and the hackers will reply to the comment with decryption software that will delete the ransomware.
How Did This Happen?
It is still uncertain how hackers were able to plan and execute such a large-scale ransomware attack on an entire city’s computer network. Some are theorizing that the hackers gained access to the computers through a remote portal.
An Ongoing Situation
The city of Atlanta has not said if it plans on paying the ransom and computers at city hall are still shut down. The mayor of Atlanta says that a team of IT experts are working on fixing the computer network, and the FBI has been brought in to investigate.
Meanwhile, many city departments have been forced to conduct business using paper instead of computers and citizens are having a hard time communicating with local departments.
The Importance of IT Security
This major attack on a US city should remove any doubt that cybercrime impacts everyone, even governments. If an entire city can be attacked by ransomware, anyone or any business can. Cybersecurity is no longer optional in 2018, contact JDL Group to start protecting yourself.