Cyberattack continues to wreak havoc on city of Atlanta
ATLANTA — As a new work week begins, many are wondering if Atlanta is back to full speed following a cyberattack on the city’s computer systems last week.
It all depends on the department. Some departments were not affected at all by the cyberattack, while employees in others are still not able to turn on their computers.
The fire and police departments were not affected at all by the ransomware attack. The same goes for the public works department, housing authority and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, although the airport has suspended its Wi-fi services, just in case.
But other departments have been forced to conduct businesses the old-fashioned way, by using pen and paper.
For example, if you have an issue with trash pickup, traffic signals and potholes, you’ll have to resolve it over the phone. Also, the city jail is having to process inmates manually.
Business owner Marcus Woodard was among the people turned away Monday at Atlanta City Hall. He was looking to renew his business license but the computers are still down.
“I commuted all this way to get it, and now I’ve got to come back tomorrow or the day after,” said Woodard.
On the other hand, Doug Lueder walked out a happy man after his application to have a commercial property subdivided was handled.
“I had to turn in an application last week just before the cyberattack happened, so I got in and got out,” said Lueder. “Today, I was just turning in my notarized sign posting affidavit so that went pretty easy also, so all in all, I got out pretty easy.”
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms provided an update on city services and says people may want to check ahead to see which services are available.
CBS46 spoke with cyber security expert Alex DeFreese and he says it’s malicious software that takes over a computer or a system and encrypts it.
“You can’t access the contents unless you have the key,” says DeFreese. “And then they take that key and they ship it back to their servers and they hold the information and the systems and the drives and whatever ransom until you either manage to revert from a backup or pay them however much they’re asking for it.”
It all started Thursday morning around 5:40 a.m. when the city of Atlanta official Twitter account sent out a tweet saying:
“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. Our @ATL_AIM team is working diligently with support from Microsoft to resolve this issue. Atlantaga.gov remains accessible. We will post any updates as we receive them. Thank you for your patience.”
The hackers sent a note listing their demands and instructions that read:
-Send .8 bitcoins for each computer or 6 bitcoins for all of the computers. (the equivalent of around $51,000)
-After the .8 bitcoin is sent, leave a comment on their website with the provided host name
-They’ll then reply to the comment with a decryption software. When you run that all of the encrypted files will be recovered.
City officials have not said if they’ll pay the ransom.
The FBI is investigating.