As the city of Atlanta took on a massive ransomware strike back in March 22, the repercussions have continued to grow exponentially, with the city’s municipal government chief information officer (CIO) revealing how the cyberattack was more far-reaching and costly than predicted.
During a recent budget meeting, Atlanta’s CIO, Daphne Rackely, explained how another $9.5 million is necessary to recover from the damages caused, as it has been discovered that the cyberattack targeted more city systems than what was previously reported.
As it turns out, “SamSam”--the ransomware attack bug--critically impacted 30 percent of the more than 400 programs used by Atlanta, in which at least one-third (of such programs) were greatly affected. From online payment systems for water and sewer bills to court scheduling and applications for business licenses, the cyberattack left many critical operations at a standstill.
“SamSam” has also had its impact on Atlanta’s public safety sector, as Police Chief Erika Shields revealed how the attack instigated the loss of accumulated dashboard camera footage necessary for cases relying on officer testimonies.
Nina Hickson, the Interim City Attorney, sadly explained how approximately a decade’s worth of legal documents had also been impacted, the files now destroyed and unable to be recovered.
As the problem continues to grow, Rackely further revealed how the ransomware attack resumes in fiscally straining the city, the Information Management’s budget taking a major hit. While $35 million has already been allocated for the 2019 IT budget, the proposed $9.5 million will further be added for necessitated funds in ransomware recovery efforts. More than $5 million has already been used as an emergency when the cyberattack was first initiated.
Though the hackers behind Atlanta’s ransomware attack only demanded a bitcoin sum equivalent to approximately $51,000, the effects of the cyberattack were demonstratively far more costly to the city, as multiple sectors and departments are still in recovery mode. City officials learned a great lesson on making certain financial capital and political attention is given to such cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
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