It’s going to be quite some time before Henry County government’s computer network recovers from a malware attack earlier this week.
Officials there said they do not expect the system to be restored until at least next week at the earliest.
The county was the second metro Atlanta government to have its computer network attacked by cyber criminals this week.
The Lawrenceville Police Department confirmed the FBI and private security experts have been called in to help with the cyberattack that has hijacked the department’s body camera file footage and other department files, according to Channel 2 Action News.
The incidents follow an attack in Atlanta in early 2018 when cyber criminals planted ransomware in the city’s servers. The attackers demanded $51,000 in exchange for encryption keys to recover the city’s data. Two Iranian men were indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice in October for the Atlanta attack, and others.
Lawrenceville officials say they have not paid a ransom and the 911 emergency system was not impacted, according to Channel 2. Officers there can be dispatched as normal and will file written reports.
Henry Count’s technology team, with assistance from the FBI and Georgia Technology Authority, expected to work through the weekend to bring servers back one at a time after they have been deemed safe, county spokeswoman Melissa Robinson said. That could restore some services quicker than others, she said.
Henry announced Wednesday that it was shutting down all its servers as a safety precaution after detecting a cyber incident.
The county lost email, access to the internet and the ability to process paperwork from a variety of departments — including the tax assessor’s office, business licensing and building permits — as a result.
Henry Commissioner Bruce Holmes said that no entity or person had taken responsibility for the attack on the county or demanded a ransom. As of now, it is being treated as malware, but he did not know if know if that would change if the county is contacted.
Public safety offices such as police and fire were not impacted by the breach because they are on separate servers, Robinson said. Courts also operated as normal, though some digitized records were unavailable.
“All courts are in session today as scheduled, including three courtrooms and grand jury,” Henry District Attorney Darius Pattillo said in a statement on Thursday. “We had no continuances or delays in prosecuting cases because of the technology issues. We currently do not have email, but are continuing operations.”
In an effort to keep operations flowing, Henry leaders throughout the week accepted paper applications for business licences or used typewriters to issue reports. Workers at Superior Court took phone numbers from citizens looking for documents and promised to get back to them when the system was rebooted.
Managers in the county’s on-demand transit system reached out to seniors who use the system for doctor’s appointments or trips to the grocery store to create a hand-written schedule of who needed transportation.
“It’s one of those things that when technology takes you in a different direction, you just do the best you can,” Superior Court Clerk Barbara Harrison said.
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