911 system of US Baltimore city attacked by ransomware

Atlanta's mayor urged residents on Thursday to check their financial records if they have any personal information located on city information systems while the FBI investigates a ransomware attack on the city.

The main reason why ransomware-type infections are still lurking in the cyberspace is that people continue to finance the attackers by paying the ransom. "We are transitioning to the recovery phase to include the methodical restoration of critical systems". She said the city made no payments, but "everything is up for discussion". Bottoms likened the circumstances to "a hostage situation".

Experts say the ransomware exploits are known software vulnerabilities and often organisations that fell victim to these kinds of attacks have not done a thorough job o patching systems regularly.

A 2016 survey of chief information officers found that ransom was the most common goal of cyberattacks on a local government, accounting for almost one-third of all attacks, but less than half of the governments surveyed said they had developed a formal cybersecurity policy.

Dell SecureWorks and Cisco Security, which are working to restore the city's systems, declined to comment on the attacks, citing client confidentiality.

Meanwhile, officials are focused on establishing manual workarounds for divisions that have been impacted. The city has not paid the ransom as of yet, and Green said the public needs to know what the city of Atlanta is doing. "We have been taking active measures to mitigate any risk in the past". Asked how long such a process is sustainable, Bottoms cracked a joke. The people in the city didn't had access to internet and the city isn't back to busniess yet. "And for some of our younger employees, it will be a nice exercise in good penmanship".

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Among them: new water service requests and hydrant-meter renewals and returns.

These large attacks can also be lucrative: according to security experts, cybercriminals made more than $1 billion from ransomware in 2016. And residents needing inspections or help with zoning can still access services by appearing in person or by calling the department.

Currently, Municipal Courts in Atlanta can not process ticket payments, either online or in person, and court appearances are being rescheduled. The city's former chief information office Samir Saini moved to New York City last month.

Bottoms says the city has continued to operate despite the cyberattack.

"We don't know if it's limited to information related to just our employees or if it's more extensive than that". "I am looking foward to us really being a national model of how cities can shore themselves up and be stronger because of it".

  • Adam Floyd