Life in Atlanta, one of the most important cities in the US came to abrupt halt when SamSam Ransomware hit the municipal systems demanding a pay for $51000 in Bitcoin (6 Bitcoins) with major operations in the city such as police etc. being threatened and the hackers didn’t back down with the issue yet to be fully resolved.
The attack was launched early morning on Thursday with NBC the first to cover it. Employees entering offices early morning were given notices to keep their system off and unplugged as earlier popups demanding $51000 worth of Bitcoin were seen.
Not just the police but also courts and other important government offices have been affected by the ongoing Ransomware attack and while officials initially tried to downplay the attack calling it an outage but leaks and hints coming out various departments clearly indicate a Ransomware attack.
Atlanta not the only victim
Atlanta isn’t the first city to receive such a threat. In 2017, Sarasota, Florida was fazed by a similar threat that where $33 Million were demanded but an alert worker saved the day by unplugging all the computers.
In Leeds, Alabama about $12 million was paid while Hinesville, Georgia; Farmington, New Mexico the computers are still inaccessible due to unpaid ransom and lastly in Englewood, Colorado all computers were completely cut off.
The FBI and Homeland Security have launched an investigation to nab the culprits with rumors suggesting that the city’s governments offices might remain closed for the next 2-3 days until the issue is fully resolved.
On the bright side, the cities airport hasn’t been compromised but for the police, it’s going to back to writing and submitting reports manually, though if it is just a precaution or done due to the damage caused by the attack is yet to be determined.
Definite details yet not known
Soon after the attack people in the city were no longer allowed to pay their water bills using online payment modes in order to protect the users as their personal information was at risk with the government asking people to report any stolen personal data ASAP.
The panic further spread to the employees as well with them worried about pay and timesheets since it’s all computerized. Yup, the according to official statements, all due payments will be paid in full.
Keisha, the city mayor, urged everyone to remain calm and patient while claiming that the extent of the attack was unknown. She also stated that rather than just bandaging up small wounds the task force had to determine the focal point of the attack in order to prevent long-term damage and that the whole city was subject of the attack.
Here the full official statement below.
While attacks like these are never welcome, for Atlanta it couldn’t get any worse as they are in line an Amazon facility, it’s also prep time for the March Madness basketball events and to top it all off, a mega gun control rally was scheduled for Saturday.
Do you think paying up the ransom the better option?