The City of Atlanta has been hit with crippling ransomware and hackers have requested $52,000 dollars or six bitcoins. Cyber-response teams are working around the clock and Mayor Keisha Bottoms is worried about burnout of the staff. Based on the press conference which you can see at the bottom of this article - dozens upon dozens of people if not hundreds are involved in analyzing the attack and restoring these systems.
The net cost of this disruption has easily exceeded many millions or tens of millions of dollars so far.
An outside vendor is working with the city's task force to get critical systems back online as soon as possible. Moreover, they will work with Atlanta to improve security going forward.
When the incident first happened the city posted on Twitter:
“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 Mayor explained to the public that this is a marathon, not a race.
Based on the press conference below you can see the public disruption is on a scale few would have thought possible. It's shocking actually.
Every busienss is at risk from such attacks and can come to a screeching halt as a result.
The city does have backup systems but based on this press conference, these may have been corrupted as well! It seems the Mayor isn't sure.
At a minimum, there are some basics every company must engage in to be safer. To start with, cyber training is crucial. From there, auditing and documentation, penetration testing and anomaly detection are crucial.
The Mayor concluded that this is an attack on the government, not just ransomware. The reality is that there are billions of emails floating around cyberspace waiting for someone to click and even if it seems like a government attack, it could have just been a random piece of malware-infested email that was clicked on.
The City says they know who the attacker is but cannot disclose the information to the public. On a related note, ISIS is using ransomware as a funding mechanism and so are a number of criminal organizations.
Watch this video or even a few minutes of it to get a sense of the scale of the issue because every company will likely be hit. Companies like Apex Technology Services are here to work with organizations, before during and after cyberattacks. We prefer to help companies avoid such disruptions so call us or another qualified IT and cybersecurity expert to get an assessment ASAP.
Mayor @keishabottoms holds a press conference to provide updated information on the ransomware cyberattack. https://t.co/g63R54qG70
— City of Atlanta, GA (@Cityofatlanta) March 26, 2018
Try this link if the above doesn't work.