The city of Atlanta experienced a crippling cyber attack on the 22nd of March this year. Atlanta’s city-wide cyber infrastructure was hit by a ransomware that locked all the crucial files and demanded a payment of approximately $50,000 in Bitcoin. It is widely believed that the attack was perpetrated by a group known as SamSam, which is also thought to have carried out similar ransomware attacks since atleast a couple of years.
In the aftermath, many of the city’s employees were only permitted to turn on their systems five days after the attack. Additionally, citizens could not use most of the everyday amenities like the ones used to pay parking tickets and utility bills.
What’s even worse is that many of the systems still haven’t recovered from the devastating attack. During a budget meeting on Wednesday, Atlanta’s interim Chief Information Officer and head of its Information Management, Daphne Kackley announced an additional $9.5 million to the initial $35 million budget to recover from the cyber attacks. This announcement comes in the wake of the comprehensive assessment of the extent of damages caused by the ransomware. It was reported that about a third of the city’s software programs remain unusable. In addition to this, almost 30% of those programs were used to operate critical services like Atlanta’s court system and law enforcement. The authorities initially believed that only about 20% of the city’s programs were affected, none of which were critical.
The police department also disclosed that the attack erased many years worth of police dash cam footage.