The FBI and the US Department of Homeland Security are investigating a cyberattack against the municipality of Atlanta, said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. The city’s computer systems were taken offline on Thursday following a ransomware infection that encrypted data, holding it hostage while demanding a ransom in bitcoin.
City officials confirmed on Twitter that the incident caused “outages on various customer-facing applications, including some that customers may use to pay bills or access court-related information.”
The 911 emergency and response systems, police department systems, airport operations, water and public safety were not affected. The municipality hasn’t yet decided whether to pay the ransom, and is still investigating the nature of the damage on the network servers.
There is no strong evidence to indicate hackers accessed any personal information belonging to city employees and citizens, but all are encouraged to remain vigilant and monitor their credit cards and online accounts for illegal activities in case data has been stolen.
“This is a very serious situation,” Bottoms said. “We don’t know the extent, so I would ask for people to assume that you may be included. Let’s just assume that if your personal information is housed by the City of Atlanta, whether it be because you are a customer who goes online and pays your bills or any employee or even a retiree, we don’t know the extent, so we just ask that you be vigilant.”