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Georgia Department of Public Safety hit with ransomware attack

Georgia Department of Public Safety hit with ransomware attack
  • The incident impacted three Georgia police departments including Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Capitol Police, and Georgia Motor Carrier Compliance Division.
  • The attack infected the entire DPS network forcing the department to shut down all its IT systems including email servers, public website, and backend servers.

Attackers infected the Georgia Department of Public Safety (DPS) with ransomware. The ransomware infection crippled all the laptops installed in police cars across the state.

What happened?

According to a report from Fox 5 News, the ransomware was first spotted by an officer on a field laptop on July 26, 2019. The officer became aware of the ransomware when he noticed an abnormal message on the laptop screen.

The ransomware didn't infect the police car laptops directly, but the DPS backend, making laptops installed in police cars across some departments lose connectivity and access to data.

What is the impact?

  • The attack infected the entire DPS network forcing the department to shut down all its IT systems including email servers, public website, and backend servers.
  • The incident impacted three Georgia police departments including Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Capitol Police, and Georgia Motor Carrier Compliance Division.
  • The ransomware infection also disabled the department to access police car laptops that contained the agency's data.
  • This has forced the officers to use car radios or work phones instead of laptops to request any desired information.

“The way that it works is if an agency has a crash that they need us to respond to, they would sent that information electronically, and then we would dispatch it from there. The difference is now they are just having to make a phone call into our communication centers to give us that information, you know, just via a phone call,” Stallings explained, a local media reported.

What was the response?

  • Upon learning the incident, the department notified the Georgia Technology Authority.
  • Lt. Stephanie Stallings, public information director for the Georgia State Patrol said that the officials are investigating the ransomware attack and conducting a forensic analysis on the DPS system.

“Protocols are in place and have been activated for an event like this,” Stallings said.

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