Dunwoody, a city located in DeKalb County, Georgia, has become the latest addition to the ranks of local government units in Metro Atlanta to had been hit by a cyberattack.
On Thursday, Jan 9, officials from the suburb confirmed a malware attack that had attempted to hijack its computer systems on Christmas Eve. The authorities, however, assured that no data has been compromised in the attack as its security team “responded immediately to isolate the problem and protect systems from harm.”
“None of our data was compromised, and so we’re very thankful for that… it was our IT’s quick response,” Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan explained. “They asked for a ransom in bitcoin and of course we didn’t pay it. We locked down our systems immediately and then recovered our data from our backup.”
According to Grogan, city staff, with the help of computer security contractors at InterDev, responded by shutting down the servers and disconnecting computers to limit the impact of the attack. At the time, he revealed that the Police Department was forced to revert back to do things “the old-fashioned way” in order to continue services through the holidays despite the attack.
“(We) had to start writing our reports by hand, issuing citations by hand, and interestingly enough there was a lot of officers who’ve never done that,” Grogan said. “They’ve only done electronic reports, and so it was a little bit of a change for us, but nothing really interfered with the services that we’re delivering.”
The incident marks the latest addition to the series of attacks that had been targeting metro Atlanta governments in recent years. Among the latest victims to the attacks included the City of Atlanta, the Georgia Administrative Office of the Courts, the Lawrenceville Police Department, the Henry County government, and the Georgia Department of Public Safety.
“I think the real key is responding quickly to these situations. And we were fortunate because an employee noticed something, was able to bring it to IT’s attention, and IT acted swiftly even though it was a holiday, Christmas Eve,” Grogan commented. “They actually came up here and then they worked pretty much 24/7 for the next week trying to get our systems back up and running and restored. So really the lesson is you have to respond quickly when you do have something like this happen.”
Dunwoody officials revealed they are now working with the FBI to investigate the said incident.