Did you hear about the ransomware that attacked Atlanta?
Sounds like the title of one of those 1950s monster movies. Unfortunately, in this case the monster is real, as is the damage it inflicted on the city of Atlanta, Georgia.
Earlier this year, a ransomware attack shut down many of Atlanta’s online systems for more than a week. As a result:
- Residents couldn’t pay their water bill or parking tickets.
- Court dates had to be rescheduled.
- Collection of job applications for city positions was suspended.
- Police reports had to be written by hand.
Fortunately, it appears that customer and employee data was not compromised, though city officials had to urge everyone to keep a closer eye on their bank accounts in case any funds disappear.
Of course, where’s there’s ransomware, there’s always ransom. Those responsible for the attack asked for more than $50,000 to lift the lockout they placed on the city’s computers. The city didn’t pay – but the cost of restoring all affected systems could reach $17 million, according to an August 1 report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
You might think such brazen attacks are rare occurrences – but don’t tell that to the folks in Matanuska-Susitna, a small borough in Alaska. Last month, hackers used ransomware to take control of desktop computers, email servers and telephone systems. Since then, libraries have been hand-writing receipts for book withdrawals, and a variety of government-related business is now being conducted with typewriters.
Why Is This Happening?
Public sector websites for municipalities, schools, and utilities make particularly alluring targets, because their websites are the central hub for so many vital services. We’ve all sacrificed security for the convenience provided by online processes and communications, and now we are paying a price for doing so.
Is There a Solution?
360Civic is proud to announce a new ransomware protection service, available to any entity that uses our servers for hosting. The service installs a number of effective protocols to protect sites from ransomware attacks. The cost is $500 per month.