Five days after a massive ransomware attack took computer systems of the municipal departments in the city of Atlanta hostage, the problem continues as FBI hunts for clues about the attackers.
On Thursday morning last week, the ransomware attack hit the computer system, shocking authorities.
The ransomware attack targeted municipal systems and employees were told not to use their computers until they’re cleared by the municipal IT group.
Last week, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said that employees had been asked to monitor their bank accounts and that city officials were not aware of what information had been compromised in the attack.
Five days later, the problem continues to haunt authorities.
The city advised employees on Tuesday to turn on computers and printers for the first time since the attack.
It, however, warned that some systems may still be down and it was definitely not business as usual.
Officials are reportedly still trying to recover from the hack that blocked access to electronic records, leaving city jails and municipal courts running manually with paper and pens.
Several city employees remain without access to email or the internet.
Further, Atlanta’s courts have been unable to process ticket payments because of the breach, however, residents facing court cases for some low-level offenses received a reprieve of sorts due to the attack.
The city was earlier revealed to have engaged Microsoft and a team from Cisco’s Incident Response Services in the investigation.
Now, an Atlanta security firm, Secureworks is said to have been hired by the city to help it resolve its online issues.
Further, officials noted that the impact of the cyberattack is still affecting Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which shut down its WiFi system as a precaution.
The world’s busiest airport has said in a notice on its website that internet difficulties meant security wait times and flight information were unavailable, and advised travelers to check with individual airlines.
FBI investigators meanwhile continue to make efforts to figure out the identity of the culprits, who demanded the equivalent of about $51,000 in bitcoin to unlock the shuttered systems.
The Mayor declined to indicate if city officials are considering paying the ransom.
She said in a televised news conference that she is consulting with the FBI and other federal agencies.
Adding, “We are dealing with a hostage situation. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done with our digital infrastructure in the city of Atlanta, and we know that year after year that it’s something that we have to focus on, and certainly this has sped things up. For some of our younger employees, it will be an exercise in good penmanship.”