By Valerie J. Morgan
A week after a cyber attack shut down several of the city of Atlanta’s services, city officials announced that the ATL311 website has resumed accepting online service requests.
City officials said the web site was disabled out of an abundance of caution on March 22 while the City worked to restore the systems shut down by hackers.
The ransomware attack paralyzed Municipal Courts, preventing them from processing ticket payments, and forced officials to reschedule court appearances, halt new water service requests and suspend applications for employment with the city until further notice.
As of On Common Ground News deadline on March 29, city officials still had not decided whether to pay the $51,000 ransom sought by hackers to unlock the city’s systems.
City officials found out the systems had been hacked on March 22 when employees could not access their computer systems.
The city has hired SecureWorks, an Atlanta-based information security firm, to restore its computers and update security software against future attacks.
The city of Atlanta is not the only local government that has faced a cyber attack on its systems. Rockdale County government’s systems were hacked last May, shutting down several services including some services at the County Jail.
Rockdale’s Chief of Staff Corey Hambrick said it took about two weeks to completely restore services in Rockdale.
“Fortunately, we didn’t have to pay a ransom,” said Hambrick. “We reported it to the FBI, Homeland Security and we began working on bringing in people to unlock the systems immediately after contacting those agencies.”
Hambrick said none of the agencies had contacted Rockdale regarding Atlanta’s investigation.
The FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Secret Service and independent forensic experts are investigating the attack on the city of Atlanta’s system.
Meanwhile, the City of Atlanta has launched an online Information-Hub on its website to share the latest updates surrounding operations and the ransomware cyberattack.
“The City is committed to keeping the public informed throughout our response to the ransomware attack. The launch of the Information-Hub is a key component of how we keep that promise,” said Richard Cox, Chief Operating Officer for the City of Atlanta.
Residents may use ATL311website to submit requests for the following services: Trash pick-up • Recycling • Yard Trimmings • Emergency traffic signals/signs • Potholes • Graffiti • Code enforcement • Other Department of Public Works services • Requests for Watershed Management emergency water and sewer infrastructure concerns will continue to be phoned into the department’s dispatch.
ATL311 is still not able to process requests for Department of Watershed Management billing inquiries, new water service requests, and water service disconnections.
Residents can use the service online at ATL311.com, by calling 311 from their home phone, or 404-546-0311 if dialing from outside of the City. The customer service center operating hours are Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. All emergencies should be reported by calling 911.