Atlanta is still struggling to recover from a ransomware attack just over a week ago. The chaos has been referred to as a “hostage situation” and security experts say is a reminder of the vulnerabilities of government computer networks. This came to us from CFO in their article, “Atlanta Hack Highlights Ransomware Dangers.”
The ransomware attack on Thursday targeted Atlanta’s online systems, shutting down computers and printers. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has said the hackers had asked for $51,000, but there has been no formal confirmation of a ransom amount.
A 2016 survey of chief information officers found that ransom was the most common purpose of cyberattacks on a local government, accounting for nearly one-third of all attacks, but less than half of the governments surveyed said they had developed a formal cybersecurity policy. Historically, ransomware attacks primarily targeted healthcare providers and their electronic health record (EHR) systems.
Security experts have identified the Atlanta assailants and it is believed they have extorted more than $1 million from some 30 target organizations in 2018 alone. Criminals made more than $1 billion from ransomware in 2016, according to the F.B.I.