Atlanta, held hostage by ransomware attack, illustrates cyber security threat.
Remember when a major U.S. city’s computer infrastructure was hacked, and held ransom, by a group of cyber criminals?
It’s very possible that Atlanta’s battle with this new type of online threat last month—hackers gained control and shut down the city’s computer system for days—went unnoticed due to the recent rapid-fire news cycle. Atlanta’s Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms compared the incident, known as a ransomware attack, to a hostage situation.
While the premise of hackers holding a city ransom may seem sci-fi, cyber security experts believe it’s already a common menace.
“It’s a fairly big problem because unfortunately, state and local governments are prime targets,” says Allen Liska, a senior intelligence analyst at Recorded Future, a company specializing in cyber threat assessment. “After what happened in Atlanta, cities are going to appear as big targets. And now, with so many constituent services online, cities have a huge exposure on the internet.”