In March 2018 the Atlanta government was subjected to one of the largest and most costly ransomware attacks the country has ever seen.

Ransomware is malicious software that locks up computers and any computer-controlled equipment until the victim pays a ransom to the criminal involved.

The hackers have now been named as Faramarz Shahi Savandi and Mohammad Mehdi Shah Mansouri, both men have been arrested and await trial.

 

 

During the attack, Atlanta was plunged into cyber darkness causing major disruption for the hospitals, utility, parking & court services. As a result, doctors were unable to access patient medical records, meaning many patients were turned away.

The shutdown lasted for over a week, eventually the government felt they had no choice other than to pay the hackers $17,000 to get back online. 

The attack highlighted over 2,000 major vulnerabilities in the systems, due to complacency being highlighted as a potential issue.

Large attacks such as this SamSam campaign emphasise the seriousness of ransomware, however small and medium businesses are subject to smaller scale attacks every day.

Chess offers training for companies to improve their cyber security, are you interested in making your business more secure from hackers?