Georgia agriculture website finally restored after malware attack

The Georgia Department of Agriculture is back online after malware took down its website for 11 days and a hacker demanded a ransom payment to eradicate the computer infection.

The state didn’t pay the ransom and technicians restored its network by Friday, said spokesman Alec Asbridge.

An investigation is underway to determine the source of the attack, he said. The department didn't disclose the type of malware infection or the ransom amount.

“Our IT team quickly and effectively isolated the problem and began work to rectify the situation” since it was discovered Dec. 11, Asbridge said. “Through their hard work and support by external partners the GDA network is up and running so we can continue to serve the citizens of Georgia.”

There’s no indication that information was lost or compromised, he said. The malware disabled government email systems until Wednesday.

While the Agriculture Department’s computer network was offline, businesses and individuals were unable to apply online for licences for livestock, pesticides, horse stables and more. Those seeking a license were able to renew or apply by phone.