A cyber ransom ware attack, like the one debilitating the City of Atlanta this week, could target our own local communities. In fact, at least one already has. However, the city was able to put the right tools in place to stop it from causing major problems.
Carrollton City Manager Tim Grizzard said that on the afternoon of January 23rd, the city received a ransom ware attack against the billing and payroll system. Grizzard said the attack was actually stopped by a firewall.
“We had to isolate systems within the city. When I say we, I mean the IT department,” said Grizzard. “They shut down servers and they shut down units. Six months earlier they installed some very robust hardware that made our system better able to handle this kind of attack. They worked through the night to find where the attack came in and it turned out to be from an outlying PC in a remote location, not city hall. We got everything cleaned up by 8:00 the next night.”
And while the city did have the tools in place this time to prevent more serious issues, Grizzard admits that protecting all systems and data could be a constant battle.
“Every year there is something new that we need to buy and every year there is something new that we need to install to protect things more. We are more and more computer dependent. Public safety is very IT heavy. There is so many videos and there is so much evidence gathered. The way that data is downloaded and the way that data is protected and filed is just a very complicated business. And it will be more and more complicated as the years go forward” said Grizzard.
Grizzard said the tech department could not pinpoint where in the world the January 23rd virus was delivered. He is confident that no data or personal information was shared during the 36-hour ordeal.