“We detected and isolated any of the issues that may have been occurring,” Asbridge said. “We hope to have everything up and running soon. … We want to be safe rather than sorry and assess the situation fully before we move forward.”
It’s unclear how the malware penetrated the department’s network. Asbridge said he didn’t know the amount of the payment sought from the department.
The department's website, agr.georgia.gov, currently sends visitors to a state government website that includes a note asking for patience until the "network issue" is resolved.
When it’s working, the website allows businesses and individuals to apply for more than 70 licenses, from poultry operations to pesticides, Asbridge said. Without the website, those seeking a license can still apply by phone. The website also provided information about state agricultural programs.
“You can’t go on our website and look at what license you need right now,” he said. “We haven’t disappeared. We just don’t have a website.”
The department will evaluate the situation to determine what went wrong, he said.