Atlanta's ransomware attack cost $2.7M

A cyberattack that shut down most of the City of Atlanta's networks is going to cost taxpayers nearly $2.7 million — a steeper price tag than the $50,000 ransom hackers demanded — Channel 2 Action News reports.

In an effort to recover its systems, the city spent $2.7 million on eight emergency contracts. One of the contracts the city signed devoted $650,000 to cybersecurity firm SecureWorks, which was tasked with assessing the damage and developing action plans. Atlanta signed two other contracts totalling more than $1 million with private technology companies to work on its information management and municipal court systems.

"They were probably not as protected as we probably thought they were," Georgia State University cybersecurity researcher Don Hunt, PhD, told Channel 2 Action News. "They've got some really big players on the team there, and they're spending a lot of money, so the depth of the problems that they had are probably enormous."

Atlanta also contracted with management consultant Ernst & Young for advisory services in a $600,000 deal and public relations firm Edelman for crisis communication services in a $50,000 deal.

"You're talking about the possibility of privacy being violated. It could be an indicator that you've got a deeper problem inside or potentially a deeper problem that you want to get ahead of right away," Dr. Hunt said.

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