America’s cities are under cyberattack. That’s bad news for IoT and Smart Cities

At 5:40 a.m. on Thursday, March 22 the City of Atlanta’s municipal computer system was hit by a ransomware attack that encrypted a number of important internal and customer facing applications, including some that residents use to pay bills or access court-related information.

As an added precaution, the city’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, one of the busiest in the world,  shut down its free WiFi network.  The city’s 8,000 employees were told to unplug their computers and refamiliarize themselves with pens and paper.  Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms even joked that it might be “a good exercise in penmanship for younger employees.”  On a more serious note, the mayor added:

This is really much bigger than a ransomware attack.  This was an attack on our government, which means it was an attack on all of us.  This is a hostage situation.

Six days later, city workers were allowed to reboot, but affected programs—like apps to allow residents to pay their water bills or traffic tickets online—were still locked and encrypted. 

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