Security & Fraud

Baltimore And Atlanta Get Hacked

Marking the second cyberattack on a large U.S. municipality in one week, hackers managed to break into Baltimore’s dispatch system that supports emergency calls. Baltimore CIO Frank Johnson called the hack a “limited breach,” Reuters reported.

That hack came about a week after Atlanta experienced a “ransomware” attack that impacted some city services, such as bill collections and airport Wi-Fi. Some services still remain affected, including the Atlanta police department. Lisa Bender, a department spokeswoman, would not specify the impacts of the breach, but did say the department has had to complete some tasks offline.

“As teams diligently work to restore our network, it would not be prudent right now to go into specifics about police operations,” Bender told Reuters. “We have begun to do some tasks manually, and continue to look for other ‘workarounds’ so that we can continue to serve the public with the same level of service they have come to expect.”

Atlanta isn’t the first municipality to have its systems disrupted by cybercrime: A virus shut down the entire network of a county in Ohio back in 2017, including that of the local police force. A financial demand was made to restore everything back to normal, according to TechCrunch.

At the time of the Ohio disruption, it was believed that an employee’s computer was exposed to the ransomware through a phishing scam or an accidental download. The servers have been locked up, and the FBI and Bureau of Criminal Investigation were notified.

The virus hit several local governments in Ohio, and was the subject of a warning from the state auditor in 2016. While county offices remained open after the hack, the virus took down the county’s computer and phone systems. Those who wanted to contact county offices had to visit in person. And while the public was still able to call 911 in case of an emergency, public safety officials had to work without computers.



The September 2020 Leveraging The Digital Banking Shift Study, PYMNTS examines consumers’ growing use of online and mobile tools to open and manage accounts as well as the factors that are paramount in building and maintaining trust in the current economic environment. The report is based on a survey of nearly 2,200 account-holding U.S. consumers.