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The seemingly random and definitely worrisome cyberattack on Atlanta



Last Thursday morning, City Councilor Howard Shook of Atlanta
went to his office and immediately started following the urgency
Recommendation of his I.T. Department: "Mainly," he recalled, "turn
of all. "Shook, representing District 7, in Atlanta
Northeastern metropolitan area, has three computers in his office, all
it had been infected with ransomware. "Sixteen years worth
Information gone, "he told me." E-mail. All our contacts. All our
Files: city policy, district-specific projects, activities. It is
devastating. "A few days later, his office got a clean, unused one
Laptop from the inventory of the city administration. That's it. Department has since
provided new passwords and strengthened the email filters "to the point
where there are a lot of things that probably do not fit in
Get on.

Shook is currently chairman of the city's finance committee;
For years he has been the president of the city council pro tempore and has
served in each of his seven committees. "There were many of them
internal debacles that I have dealt with over the last two decades "
he said. "But that's by far the biggest external debacle
massively attacked by a cybercriminal. " Times called
Last week, hack into the computer network of the largest city in the world
Southeastern United States, which is home to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention and the Coca-Cola Company, "one of the most sustainable and consistent cyberattacks ever undertaken against a major US city."

Shook, calling himself "not a
Tech person, "what exactly was hacked meant. SamSam, a" shadowy
Hacking Crew, as the Times described it, had reportedly invaded
the city computer network with ransomware-a
Decades of technology that infects and blocks a computer or network
Access to personal data through encryption ̵

1; and kept access to the
Network for ransom: about fifty-one thousand dollars to pay
in Bitcoin. Atlanta was the last in a series of ransomware victims:
FedEx, Britain's public health system, Boeing,
and many other public and private entities have been similarly targeted in recent years. But Atlanta is the largest American city that has fallen victim to the war
Trick. (Baltimore has suffered a "limited" ransomware violation in the past
over the weekend, according to city officials who have targeted their 911 Dispatch system for twenty-four hours. And five computers in Atlanta's network were reportedly injured in the last year .)
The Atlanta Hack has interrupted wireless among its many consequences
Internet at the busiest airport in the country; made dishes unable to
Validation guarantees; created parking system problems; and, perhaps most consistently, initiated the loss – perhaps permanent-of
digital city files.

One week after the hack, the newly elected mayor of Atlanta, Keisha, began
Lance Bottoms still has not confirmed if the ransom was paid
in this "hostage-taking," as she called it. "Everything is up for discussion," she told reporters. (Bottoms was busy with mitigation, tweeting
to be unable to pay their parking tickets online to their constituents over the occupationally inconvenient and the security of their personal financial information .
The official F.A.Q. The hack website went online this morning.) Some sources that wanted to remain anonymous
told me that the ransom, though relative – even strange – is modest
Total for a city with a budget in the billions, probably has not been
remitted. Shook said that "the city does not seem to have politics
in terms of the payment of ransom. "A city official told me," We're like that
fucked. We do not pay the ransom. It does not work. We will bite
bullet and builds our system more. "Another frustration
Emagazine.credit-suisse.com/app/art … = 263 & lang = DE The employee, who has been working for the city for more than a decade, said
City never spends enough to adequately address these types of
Problems. "They are the lowest bidders," he said.

In the meantime, Shook and others are confused by the seemingly random
Focus of the attack. The office of the district eight, next door
Shook's also has three computers; Two of them are still functional.
"It's the same in the corridor," he said. In any case, he does not see
Good thing to pay a ransom. "The damage is done," he said. "Stuff is
lost. I am a tiny little example, but my computer – the content must be
be euthanized. He added: "We will rebuild the contacts, but for me, the
Lesson learned: this long-term goal to move into a paperless society
looks much less exalted now than a week ago. I would give everything
for a copy of everything I've lost. "

There is currently a criminal investigation by the Confederation
Officials have not disclosed details of the course of the attack
which individuals did it or why. (The SamSam crew was
identified by researchers in an Atlanta-based security company that is
Support the city in its response.) Shook met with the Bund
Cyber ​​Security Team – "Secret Service, Homeland, F.B.I., all but Jack
Farmer, "he said, and was busy learning about hacking offenses
general. "This happens to individuals, and this happens privately
Companies. For public institutions. Welcome to the evils of the twenty-first
Century. I can not wait to see how this pathogen got into the city
System. "A former city employee who left her job last year told me
"When I was there, I was appalled by how shaky the I.T. Infrastructure
was. Each time a network outage occurred, the I.T. Department sends a
Notification. I've received these notifications so many times that I just
started to erase them.

The city's executive committee had a closed meeting yesterday
discuss the attack. The city administration told them that they were moving
Previously, there would be more sophisticated strategies to prevent it
Hacker. Computers would be rebuilt and workers retrained
Anti-malware services. "What I do not want to do is spend a whole bunch
and then it happened again, "Shook said," but I do not know
what the model is for a solution, unless it's military,
Nuclear submarine type stuff. He continued, "There are a lot of them really
smart criminals out there. We have ninety-nine hundred municipal employees.
Suffice one of them to open an attachment they should not
to open. Well, that's hard to defend. "


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