FULTON COUNTY, Ga. – Technology trouble continues to be a problem for Fulton County after a cyberattack at the end of January, but a cybersecurity expert believes a ransomware attack may be to blame.
A number of systems remain offline, creating a big headache for residents.
The county has remained tight-lipped and will not answer many questions, other than to say it is “under investigation.”
“When it happened on Monday, I was expecting it to be taken care of by Tuesday,” said Rajiv Garg, a Cybersecurity Expert and Associate Professor at Emory’s Goizueta Business School.
There are rumblings inside and outside the county that this is a multi-million dollar ransomware attack. Officials will not confirm if that’s true. Garg says based on his experience, it’s likely because of how long it’s been going on.
“The issue here is they have some data that is probably not backed up that is either lost or encrypted because of the ransomware,” he said.
The attack is impacting phones and court and tax systems. Fulton County residents are caught in the middle.
“The only thing that they’re accepting is a check or money order and if you don’t have that, then you can’t pay,” said Angie Allen, a Fulton County resident.
Residents are being told that their tax payments will not be posted until the system is back online. Joe Jordan paid his property tax bill with a check Monday. His proof of payment is some writing on the back of a business card.
“That is the only receipt that I have,” he said.
During a Monday afternoon news conference, Fulton County Board of Commissioners Chairman Robb Pitts gave an update on the cyberattack. He did not take any questions about what’s happening, but said this about the investigation.
“There is no evidence or reason to believe that this incident is related to the election process or other current events,” he said.
The county says it has been working around the clock to get systems back up and running.
This cyberattack is also affecting jury service. The juror voicemail is down, so they have put information online for affected individuals. You can find the information here.