Yet another U.S. agency has fallen victim to ransom demands by internet hackers. A state court representative told CBS affiliate WGCL-TV that over the weekend it was discovered that hackers had found their way into the Georgia court system, knocking the entire system offline.
Computers at the Georgia Administrative Office of the Courts were the ones infected. A spokesman for the state said the hack was discovered Saturday morning. He also confirmed hackers used ransomware, holding several state court systems hostage. Ransomware is a type of malware technology that blocks users from accessing computer systems or files until a ransom is paid.
Many of Georgia citizens who could have filed court documents online have instead had to do it in person following the cyber issues. The state court’s network is completely offline following the hack, and a representative of the court said there’s no evidence that any personal information is at risk.
This malware attack marks yet another incident this year where a public institution is held hostage by an online extortion attack. In June, the Riviera Beach City Council in Florida agreed to pay $600,000 in ransom to hackers who took over its computer system, disabling its email system and preventing 911 dispatchers from entering calls into a computer. That same week the Mayor of Lake City, Florida agreed to pay hackers $460,000 who had frozen city worker’s out of the email system.