Atlanta/ Politics & Govt
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Published on January 30, 2024
Fulton County Confronts Major Cyberattack, Critical Atlanta Systems Disrupted, Residents Face Service OutagesSource: Unsplash/ Markus Spiske

A cyber onslaught has paralyzed several critical systems in Fulton County, leaving residents frustrated and county officials scrambling to mitigate the damage. The cyberattack, which unfolded over the weekend, disrupted services such as the county's phone system, court system, and tax system. Fulton County Board of Commissioners Chairman Robb Pitts confirmed the tech troubles, describing the event as an "unexpected county-wide IT outage," as reported by FOX 5 Atlanta.

While the county offices remained open on Monday, the breakdown in IT systems forced a halt on several operations, residents looking to attend to routine affairs were met with posted signs, informing them of the ongoing issues. "I'm really frustrated," Mark Blackmon, a local resident told Fox 5 at the county buildings, as he was turned away and added, "I tried to get a tag today, they told me the computer's down, come back whenever."

Chairman Pitts has sought the public's patience without providing a clear timeline for when services will be fully operational again. He did, however, assure that there was currently no indication that sensitive information pertaining to citizens, or employees had been compromised. "We are not aware of any transfer of sensitive information about citizens or employees, but we will continue to look carefully at this issue," Pitts said in a statement obtained by FOX 5 Atlanta.

According to Atlanta News First, the downtown Atlanta office of the Fulton County Tax Commissioner was closed due to the outage, as phone systems have been affected, displacing normal operations. For those in need of motor vehicle renewals, kiosks at certain retail locations remain available, however, transactions involving property taxes, firearms, and marriage licenses are among those suffering delays.

Furthermore, public computers at Fulton County libraries were also rendered unavailable, while other library services, including catalog access, remained intact. The Fulton County Sheriff's Office acknowledged that their operations are impacted too, with several systems failing to perform online and automated processes, which are now having to be done manually.

Multiple law enforcement agencies are actively working on the case of the cyberattack, including the FBI. In a non-specific statement regarding the hack, the FBI said, "We are aware of the incident with Fulton County IT and have been in contact with them. While we cannot comment on any specific incidents, the FBI routinely advises the public and private sectors about cyberthreats in order to help them guard against the actions of cybercriminals. We work with our interagency partners to identify, pursue, and defeat all those who partake in cybercrime."