US City Of Atlanta Suffers An Attack

US City of Atlanta has been cyber attacked and its officials are struggling to determine how much sensitive information may have been compromised. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has temporarily shut down its Wi-Fi network and disabled parts of its website as a precaution. 

The ransomware attack, in which hackers, block or hold data until a ransom is paid, is currently being investigated by the local authorities, along with the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Secret Service.

Officials urged employees to check their bank accounts to make sure their financial information had not been accessed and said that anyone who had conducted transactions with the city could be at risk. “Because we don’t know, I think it would be appropriate for the public just to be vigilant in checking their accounts and making sure their credit agencies have also been notified,” Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said.

The city has also received demands that it pays a ransom of an unspecified amount, officials confirmed. But officials had yet to make a determination if it would pay the ransom.

“We can’t speak to that right now,” Bottoms said. “We will be looking for guidance, specifically from our federal partners.”

The FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the Secret Service had been called on for advice.For years, the FBI has warned that the use of ransomware, malicious software that threatens to block access to data or to publish it unless the infected organisation pays a ransom, is a fast growing criminal enterprise.

Organisations often don’t learn they have been infected until they can’t access their data or until computer messages appear demanding a ransom payment in exchange for a decryption key, according to the FBI’s website.

The messages include instructions on paying the ransom, usually in the form of bitcoins, a crypto currency that allows for anonymous transactions online.

The city’s Department of Atlanta Information Management becaame aware of outages of various internal and customer applications “including some applications customers use to pay bills or access court related information,” said Richard Cox, the city’s interim Chief of Operations. 

Cox called it a “ransomware cyber-attack.” The public safety department, water services and the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport operated without incident, 

Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields said that her department’s emergency response system had not been affected.

MyAJC

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