We Need to Talk About the Cyber Attack on Atlanta

Posted on Apr 24, 2018

Atlanta Suffers Massive Ransomware Attack. Atlanta Paralyzed for More Than a Week by Cyber Attack. Atlanta Cyber Attack Puts Other Cities on Notice. With Paper and Phones, Atlanta Struggles to Recover from Cyber Attack. The Seemingly Random and Definitely Worrisome Cyberattack on Atlanta. A Cyberattack Hobbles Atlanta. Atlanta Officials Still 'Working Around the Clock' to Resolve Ransomware Attack. The City of Atlanta Is Still Locked Out of Files Over a Week After SamSam Ransomware Attack.

We Need to Talk About the Cyber Attack on Atlanta

Unless you were living under a rock, you saw these headlines near the end of March, or other headlines like them, after the computer system of the City of Atlanta fell victim to a large ransomware attack. The hackers—a criminal group referred to as SamSam— wiped out decades worth of information, emails, contacts, city files, projects, and activities stored on hard drives. The common blind spot in dealing with the physical risk of cyber vulnerabilities was on full display in the aftermath of the attack. Even when the city government eventually turned their computers back on, Atlanta residents still could not pay their traffic tickets or water bills online, report hazards or obtain documents, apply for a job, business license, or special event permit. Court proceedings were cancelled. The city website was paralyzed.

"We are dealing with a hostage situation," Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms was forced to announce to her citizens. She has not divulged whether the city ended up paying SamSam the $51,000 bitcoin ransom they demanded.

If it wasn't clear before, the cyber vulnerabilities of governments and organizations, large and small, and the effect on their day-to-day physical operations, are unignorably apparent now. At this point in 2018, it's unacceptable for any organization—regardless of whether it's a city government or small business, a hospital or a bank, a manufacturing plant or a police force— not to have a robust cyber and physical security strategy in place.

In a world increasingly driven by the Internet of Things (IoT), the connectivity of systems can be difficult to trace and reveal, even within a relatively inclusive organizational community. Protect your organization by connecting the dots between physical and cyber risk to reduce threats proactively, and to respond more effectively during a crisis. Without looking at cyber and physical risk together, any crisis can be crippling. 

Prepare for ransomware before it strikes again. Which city will be targeted next? Which corporation? Which public organization?

The ripple effects of cyber attacks are felt long after the headlines disappear.

NC4 Risk Center™ is the leader in delivering relevant, timely, physical threat intelligence for physical assets and traveling employees.  We are combining this capability with our NC4 Mission Center™ and Soltra Edge® cyber threat intelligence tools to enhance human collaboration and machine automation that helps security, incident response, and crisis management teams collaborate and interoperate more efficiently. Email us at info@NC4.com.


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