Atlanta (CNN)Residents can’t pay their water bill or their parking tickets. Police and other employees are having to write out their reports by hand. And court proceedings for people who are not in police custody are canceled until computer systems are functioning properly again. More than six days after a ransomware attack shut down the city of Atlanta’s online systems, officials here are still struggling to keep the government running without many of their digital processes and services. The city said on Twitter that all court dates set for Wednesday will be rescheduled and all applications for jobs with the city are suspended until further notice.
On Tuesday officials told city employees to turn their computers and printers back on for the first time, part of an ongoing assessment of the impacts of the cyber breach, which took place on March 22. The city also said on Twitter Wednesday that “there is no evidence to show that customer or employee data has been compromised.” But city officials have urged employees and customers to contact credit agencies and monitor their bank accounts as a precaution.
Details about the attack itself remain thin. So far, authorities have only confirmed that the city experienced a ransomware cyberattack and city officials received a written demand related to it.
Atlanta’s public-safety services such as 911, police, and fire-rescue are unaffected, officials say, as are systems related to the functioning of Hartsfield Jackson International Airport.
At a news conference, Monday Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said that hackers had asked for $51,000, but there has been no formal confirmation of a ransom amount.
“I just want to make the point that this is much bigger than a ransomware attack,” she said. “This is really an attack on our government, which means it’s an attack on all of us.”
Ransomware is malicious software that blocks users from accessing some or all of their computer systems by locking them out until a ransom is paid. Officials haven’t said whether the city was going to pay the ransom.
“Everything is up for discussion,” was the Mayor’s reply when asked directly by reporters whether the city would pay up.
Law enforcement response
A private company, SecureWorks, has been brought in to investigate the breach. SecureWorks and the city’s incident response team are working with law enforcement, including the FBI, Homeland Security, and the Secret Service, as well as independent forensics experts and educational partners like Georgia Tech, to determine exactly what happened.
“We have completed the investigation and containment phases,” SecureWorks CEO Mike Cote said on Monday. “We are transitioning to the recovery phase to include the methodical restoration of critical systems.”