We are truly in some scary times. 8,000 city of Atlanta workers has finally got the okay to turn back on their computers on Tuesday. A notorious hacker group crippled the city last week Thursday, by launching a vicious cyberattack on it and holding it ransom.
The government’s computer systems may have recovered after being down for five days but Atlanta citizens still could not perform tasks like paying their parking tickets, water bills, report graffiti or potholes on the city website. Travelers at waiting to board their flights at the worlds busiest airport Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport couldn’t utilize the free wi-fi as result of the cyberattack.
The hackers weapon of choice is malicious RansomWare that cripples the victim’s computer or network and blocks access to important files or data and won’t grant the victim access until their ransom demands are met.
The assailants behind the RansomWare attack identified by Dell SecureWorks researchers who are helping Atlanta recover were the SamSam hacking group. 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 ransom for Atlanta’s cyberattack was about $51,000 and left the city’s network was in bad shape. Major systems like the city’s 911 calls and the wastewater treatment were not affected by the attack.
Other systems were definitely scrambled by the attack, in response to the cyberattack’s aftermath Police officers have been handwriting reports by hand, the Atlanta Municipal Court could not validate warrants and the city stopped taking employment applications.
Atlanta’s Mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms said last week “We are dealing with a hostage situation” but did not reveal whether or not if the city paid the ransom. Few details about the cyberattack have been disclosed by Atlanta officials but they have reassured their residents and employees that their personal information has not compromised.
This attack was not the first attack on an American city, just last year the city of Dallas tornado sirens were set off by hackers in the middle of the night. Computers are a great asset in helping things run efficiently but with these recent waves cyberattacks and worries about foreign countries like Russia trying to hack into our systems stronger cybersecurity has to become the main focus in the US.
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