Fulton County, Georgia, is currently facing a cyberattack that has crippled several government systems, causing disruptions in services such as court filings, tax processing, and other critical functions. The extent of the outage remains unresolved, with no clear timeline for the restoration of normal operations.
The District Attorney Fani Willis’ office, a key entity in the county, has lost access to phones, internet, and the court system website, according to a reliable source. Notably, Willis had indicted former President Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants in a 2020 election subversion case. While there is no official confirmation of a connection between the cyberattack and the election subversion case, authorities have not assigned any specific motive to the incident.
Fulton County Board of Commissioners Chairman Robb Pitts confirmed the widespread impact of the cyberattack, affecting communication, court, and tax systems. Additionally, the internet and Odyssey court access are reported to be down. Though initial reports suggested a potential system downtime until February 5, this information has been subsequently updated.
Pitts emphasized the seriousness with which Fulton County takes cybersecurity, reassuring that there is currently no knowledge of sensitive information being compromised. However, the investigation is still in its early stages.
During the outage, property tax transactions and justice system services, including firearm registry and marriage licenses, experienced limitations. The county’s Department of Information Technology is actively working to address the issue, as indicated in a statement on its website.
The FBI in Atlanta is aware of the incident and is collaborating with Fulton County’s IT department. However, specific details about the cyberattack are not disclosed. The FBI stated its routine practice of advising and assisting both public and private sectors in safeguarding against cyber threats.
This cyberattack adds to the ongoing challenges faced by state and local governments, highlighting the persistent threat of ransomware attacks and hacking incidents. Previous incidents in cities like Atlanta and Baltimore have incurred significant financial costs for restoration.
As of January 2022, federal efforts are underway to enhance the cybersecurity defenses of state and local governments, with initiatives aimed at providing financial support and warning systems for potential vulnerabilities.