Cyberattack Hits Georgia Department of Public Safety

DPS spokeswoman Stephanie Stallings confirmed Saturday that officials are investigating a ransomware attack discovered Friday morning within the agency's computer system.
by | July 30, 2019 AT 8:11 AM
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By Shaddi Abusaid

The Georgia Department of Public Safety is the state's latest government agency to report that it's fallen victim to a cyberattack.

DPS spokeswoman Stephanie Stallings confirmed Saturday that officials are investigating a ransomware attack discovered Friday morning within the agency's computer system.

"Protocols are in place and have been activated for an event like this," Stallings said, adding that teams are conducting a forensic analysis of the DPS system to learn more.

The Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Capitol Police and the Motor Carrier Compliance Division are all under the department.

Officials decided Friday to shut down the department's computer servers and systems as the Georgia Technology Authority investigates the attack, Stallings said.

The GSP, the Department of Motor Vehicle Safety and Capitol police have switched to an old system of phone and radio communications in the meantime, she said, and have not had their work interrupted.

On July 17, Henry County's government announced it was hit with a cyberattack that caused county officials to lose access to the internet and most online services, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported.

Lawrenceville police also called in the FBI and private security experts  to investigate after a  cyberattack hijacked the department's body camera  footage and other files.

The incidents follow an attack on the city of Atlanta in early 2018 in which cybercriminals planted ransomware on government servers. The attackers then demanded $51,000 in exchange for encryption keys to recover the city's data. Two Iranian men were indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice in October for the Atlanta attack.

(c)2019 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)