OAN’s Elizabeth Volberding
4:45 PM – Tuesday, January 30, 2024
A continuous cyberattack against Georgia’s Fulton County, which includes regions of Atlanta, has resulted in accessibility to court records, tax processing information and more services to come to a halt.
On Monday afternoon, County Commission Chair Robb Pitts announced that a “cybersecurity incident” attacked the Fulton County government’s computer systems during the weekend. In particular, the computer attack disrupted the county’s office phone system, the court system, and the tax system.
During a five-minute news briefing, Pitts announced that the investigation was still in its early phases and that the cyberattack had resulted in a widespread system outage.
“We at Fulton County take cybersecurity seriously and we place a high priority on the protection of sensitive information,” Pitts stated. “At this time, we are not aware of any transfer of sensitive information about citizens or employees, but we will continue to look carefully at this issue.”
As a result, the outage impacted “a number of our primary technology platforms,” which included phones in offices throughout the county, the court system, and the tax system, according to Pitts. However, he mentioned that did not know when those services would eventually be reconditioned.
Additionally, the county’s district attorney, Fani Willis, was unable to access the court system website, its phones, or the internet.
According to a statement on the Fulton County website, during the outage, there was restricted access to the property tax transactions and the justice system, including the registration of firearms and marriage licenses. The county’s Department of Information Technology is currently addressing this issue.
The FBI in Atlanta announced that it is in contact with Fulton County’s IT department and is aware of the incident. However, it declined to comment on the specifics of the cyberattack.
“The FBI routinely advises the public and private sectors about cyber threats in order to help them guard against the actions of cyber criminals,” the FBI said in a statement. “We work with our interagency partners to identify, pursue, and defeat all those who partake in cybercrime.”
Law enforcement is in the process of investigating, and until that is finished, Fulton County said that it will be disclosing limited information.
State and local governments have long been targets of ransomware attacks and other hacking threats because they frequently lack the resources and manpower to handle the threat. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta experienced a ransomware cyberattack in 2018 that required millions of dollars to recover from.
United States cybersecurity authorities are attempting to support the defenses of state and local governments with federal funds, as well as generating a program that advises businesses and organizations that might potentially be susceptible to cyberattack threats.
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