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Hackers are holding some of Atlanta’s government networks hostage – demand bitcoin

Laptop computer with code (PXhere/Released)
March 23, 2018

On Thursday morning, the city of Atlanta, Georgia, went under a sizable cyber attack that seriously compromised the city’s computer systems, a local CBS affiliate reported.

The FBI is working with the city to try and remedy the situation.

Hackers sent a list of demands along with instructions. They wrote:

Send .8 bitcoins for each computer or 6 bitcoins for all of the computers. (The equivalent of around $51,000.)

After the .8 bitcoin is sent, leave a comment on their website with the provided host name.

They’ll then reply to the comment with a decryption software. When you run that all of the encrypted files will be recovered.

The City of Atlanta tweeted:

“The City of Atlanta is currently experiencing outages on various customer-facing applications, including some that customers may use to pay bills or access court-related information. Our @ATL_AIM team is working diligently with support from Microsoft to resolve this issue. Atlantaga.gov remains accessible. We will post any updates as we receive them. Thank you for your patience.”

A similar statement was released by the city to CBS46.

Confirmation of outages on several customer-facing applications was sent out via a tweet around 2 p.m. by the Atlanta Municipal Court.

The tweet read: “The FBI has been called in to investigate the incident. Not much other information is known at this time, but we have a crew at city hall gathering more information.”

CBS46 inquired about processing payments for water bills. The City of Atlanta responded: “We are unable to process payments at our customer service window and we also cannot process online payments, but customers are able to pay by phone by calling 404-546-0311 and press #1.”

Thursday, in a news conference, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms confirmed that the hackers did send a ransom note.

The note stated that all files had been encrypted and a decryption key would be needed to unencrypt them.

In order to access the decryption key, the city would need to meet the demands listed in the ransom note.

Whether or not the city will meet the ransom demands is still unclear. The city is still investigating how a breach such as this occurred.