Cobb tells employees not to open City of Atlanta emails after hacking

Credit: John Spink/AJC

Credit: John Spink/AJC

Cobb County is trying not to catch whatever Atlanta has.

County employees have been instructed by IT workers that they should not open any emails from the City of Atlanta, which is in the middle of a digital ransom hack, Cobb spokesman Ross Cavitt told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday.

Many of Atlanta's online systems went down Thursday once the hack was realized.

As Atlanta employees came into work Friday, they were given fliers telling them not to turn on their computers. The city has about 8,000 employees.

Atlanta has reached out to the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the Secret Service for advice.

Cavitt said Cobb County has not dealt with this specific ransomware attack, but a virus got into the Cobb system last year. The intrusion was isolated before it did widespread damage.

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“That event led to a tightening of our security protocols as we worked with an outside vendor to contain the situation and prevent a recurrence,” he said.

Marietta spokeswoman Lindsey Wiles said the city has alerted all who use its system about the digital attack in Atlanta and reminded them to be careful while browsing and downloading.

They reminded all city employees — which number between 670 and 690 people — about cyber training they all should have already attended, she said.

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Smyrna officials said they are evaluating their current systems to see “if the same type of attack could have worked here,” said city spokeswoman Jennifer Bennett.

When asked by The AJC how it is protecting city systems, Kennesaw said it regularly backs up its data and looks at its digital defenses.

The statement ends with a note: “The City of Kennesaw sympathizes with the City of Atlanta and we are confident they will take the appropriate steps to rectify this unfortunate occurrence.”

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