ATLANTA - Atlanta city leaders are bracing for the impact of a cyberattack affecting several city departments. Atlanta Mayor Kesha Lance Bottoms confirmed on Thursday that the city's computer servers were under attack.
Friday, city leaders held a press conference outlining how city is handling the crisis. While some of the city's technology has been restricted or taken offline, city leaders said the city is still open for business.
City leaders stress public safety and other services have not been compromised and all planned events in the city, including the Men's NCAA Tournament.
A spokesman said Atlanta's airport has taken down its Wi-Fi network and disabled parts of its website "out of an abundance of caution." Reese McCranie, a spokesman for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, said in a phone interview with the Associated Press Friday that the airport was not affected by the attack discovered Thursday, but "We don't want to open up the airport to any possible cyberattack."
McCranie said the airport disabled the Wi-Fi and the parts of its website that provide flight information and security checkpoint wait times. He said passengers should check directly with their airlines for flight information.
City officials said a Ransomware attack crippled several online services provided by the city. The city of Atlanta confirmed computers were experiencing outages. Mayor Bottoms said the attack is interfering with some online bill pay services and online court records.
Investigators said the ransom demanded was $51,000 to be paid in Bitcoin, an unregulated, mostly untraceable, open-source P2P cyber currency.
City officials said they were made aware of the attack around 5:40 a.m. Thursday when they noticed unusual activity on their servers. They said a portion of the city's data had become encrypted but were working with several of their vendors such as Microsoft and Cisco Systems to restore the lost data.
Inside the Atlanta Information Management System, workers received instructions to unplug compromised computers.
Full details surrounding the attack were not released during a press conference Thursday afternoon because of the on-going investigation. The city said they are working with the FBI, Secret Service, Homeland Security, and other state and federal agencies.
Officials stressed public safety, water services, and airport operations were not being disrupted because of the attack. Lewis also said payroll will not be impacted.
FOX 5 News has learned some of the city departments which have been impacted. For example, there was no business done Thursday in the office where construction permits are approved.
What is not yet known is if any personal data, either city employees or citizens information, has been compromised. Officials said he has directed department heads to take all measures to make sure data has not been compromised. The city said they will offer additional resources to employees if needed.
The city said they have a cloud-based strategy with backing up systems which they said will help the city restore services quickly.
As of early Thursday evening, City Hall and city courts are expected to open Friday.
MARTA also experienced a computer glitch earlier on Thursday, but MARTA officials said their glitch was not related to any issues the city is experiencing.
“Ransomware attacks are not new. These have been happening for years. My expectation is that their security and IT folks have put together a playbook on how they deal with ransomware,” said Kennesaw State University Professor Andy Green.
Green stresses it will take time to do that.
The Associated Press contributed to this article