Atlanta ransomware attack throws city services into disarray

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – An Atlanta cyberattack has caused widespread city-run program outages and raised fears about the security of financial and personal data belonging to government workers, residents and others who have used online services provided by Georgiaa��s capital city, officials said on Friday.

Services affected by the breach, discovered early on Thursday, include warrant issuances, water requests, new inmate processing, court fee payments and online bill-pay programs across multiple city departments, officials told a news conference.

Federal and city officials, as well as private consultants, are investigating the origins and extent of the attack while working on a plan to respond to ransom demands made by the hackers, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said at a press conference.

a�?What we know is that someone is in our system and that there is a weakness there,a�? Bottoms said. a�?It is absolutely not what we wanted to have happen in the city of Atlanta.a�?

Bottoms said Atlanta will take a financial hit from the attack, which is likely the largest of its kind in the citya��s history.

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a�?Certainly ita��s costing us money because we arena��t fully operational,a�? Bottoms said, adding the city is prepared to undertake a massive computer system security upgrade to prevent similar situations in the future.

The mayor did not address details of the ransom, but several local news outlets reported that hackers demanded $51,000 in payments made in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

Reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by Sandra Maler