The city of Atlanta data hack is a reminder of how vulnerable your digital files actually are and how costly it can be to recover them if you don’t have a security and backup plan in place. Don’t let hackers hold your important files hostage. Learn what you can do to prevent this from happening to your business. Contact Digital Service Consultants today to put a disaster recovery plan in place.
The City of Atlanta Data Hack – What Happened?
In March of 2018, a massive cyber attack involving ransomware was launched on the city of Atlanta. The city discovered the attack, which affected 13 local government departments, on Thursday, March 22. The attack was the largest successful ransomware attack on a major American city that caused a major breach in security. It affected upwards of 6 million people and many government computers remained powered off for 5 days after the attack.
The attack involved ransomware which basically locks up your data by encrypting it and holds it for a ransom; if you don’t pay the ransom, then you will lose your data forever. The ransomware used in the attack was identified as SamSam and it crippled the court system, blocked residents from paying their water bills, limited vital communications like sewer infrastructure requests, and forced police to file paper reports.
The city of Atlanta data hack involved ransomware that held important data “hostage” through encryption
How Data Hacks Are Costly
Restoring lost data is costly:
Originally the city of Atlanta estimated that it would cost $2.7 million in emergency contracts to restore their computer networks after the attack. In reality, it probably will cost an additional $9.5 million as the effects were much worse than originally thought. The initial ransom was $51,000 in Bitcoin (an anonymous cryptocurrency that doesn’t use banks) but the city of Atlanta chose not to pay it as they were determined not to encourage this sort of criminal behavior by paying the ransom.
Ransoms may have to be paid if your backups are inadequate:
Some cities, individuals, or organizations choose to pay the ransoms because the cost of recovering the lost data is often much higher than the ransom itself. In addition, some cities and organizations have no option but to pay if they have not made adequate backups from which they can recover their critical data.
The frequency of your backups can affect the extent of the damage:
Even if backups are made, a ransomware attack could happen in between backups. Depending on how often you perform your backups, you could lose one week, one day, or 5 hours of critical information. Important files should be backed up at least once a week, but if possible, you should back up those files every 24 hours. Important data would include information such as contact information, bookkeeping, orders, website code, customer data, billing, custom programming and passwords.
Downtime also costs you money:
Not only are the ransoms costly, but the downtime involved in getting your data back can also cause huge monetary losses. The city of Atlanta, for example, lost 5 days of productivity due to their ransomware attack.
The downtime caused by data hacks is also very costly for businesses
How the City of Atlanta Data Hack Could Have Been Worse
In the case of the city of Atlanta data hack, it appears that the hackers, who have now been identified as two Iranian members of the SamSam group, Faramarz Shahi Savandi and Mohammad Mehdi Shah Mansouri, were looking to make the most profit with the least amount of effort. If they had wanted to, they could have brought down the whole city. They didn’t actually attack critical systems like power grids, water plants, traffic systems, etc., but instead targeted online services that blocked the city from processing court cases and warrants.
What to Do if You Discover a Ransomware Attack on Your Computer/System
Most ransomware attacks are not discovered until they have actually taken over your data. Once you realize that the attack has taken place, you should do the following:
shut down all file sharing activity
determine where the infection originated
assess the extent of the damage
remove the virus by deleting all affected files
use your backup to restore the deleted files
You may also be interested in our post “How to Protect Your Business From Atlanta Ransomware Attacks.”
As soon as you discover a ransomware attack you should immediately stop all of your file sharing activities
How DSC Can Help Protect Against Ransomware Attacks
DSC provides services to help protect you against ransomware attacks like of the city of Atlanta Data Hack. Having a reliable disaster recovery plan including an effective and frequent backup system in place would have meant that the data which took so much time and money to recover could have been quickly and easily recovered at a fraction of the cost. Investing in a plan today with DSC could save you in the long run.
Digital Service Consultants has been in business for more than 33 years, so we’ve established strategic partnerships that have grandfathered us in at below-industry rates. This means that we can and do pass along those savings to our customers. This is why DSC has the best and most flexible pricing – including colocation pricing – in Georgia.
Digital Services Consultants is a premier data center located just outside of Atlanta, Georgia in Buford, that offers you the best server colocation possible. Along with our top-notch server colocation, we provide a full range of internet- related and cloud services including cloud backup, system monitoring, software hosting, dedicated email, website development and implementation, web hosting, e-commerce, security, and a variety of related products and services. We also provide network support for Linus, Microsoft server and workstation platforms, Fortinet firewalls, and Cisco Systems. DSC has been a trusted name in the IT industry in Atlanta for more than 30 years. Contact us today for all of your internet-related requirements.
“DSC has been fantastic, responsive and knowledgeable about any issues that come up. I first had contact with them when they informed me our backup internet was out, before I even knew it was down. Pro-active and very quick in resolving the issue. They’ve also been instrumental in stabilizing our network, and assisting with a backup solution. Both of which we were in dire need of. Really great group!”
– Thomas Berg
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DSC has been a trusted name in the IT industry in Atlanta for more than 33 years
DSC Gives Back to the Georgia Community
DSC is proud to be part of a thriving Georgia community and we care enough about our community to want to give something back. That is why we started the “Next Generation” training days. During the training, our students learned about the history of CPUs and GPUs. The training focused on the performance and success of different models and brands and which ones excelled during their various time periods. You can access an audio recording of the training on the DSC website for free. Click here to listen to this in