City Leaders: 'Unauthorized access' to city network
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Augusta city officials tell FOX54 that there has been an "unauthorized access" to they city's computer systems. In a statement, read by Mayor Garnett Johnson and prepared with commissioners and the city attorney, officials say the IT department is working to solve the problem, and investigating the source of the attack. At this time, they say they do not know if any sensitive data has been compromised.
The mayor and commission did not take any questions on the matter, but FOX54 was able to speak directly with spokesmen for some Richmond County departments.
Lynn Gladney, director of the motor vehicle registration division, says her teams are adapting to maintain efficiency. She says some of the resources developed during the pandemic have been helpful in keeping the motor vehicle division operational.
“We have worked with our IT department internally to redeploy those resources so we could continue to provide services at all of our offices,” explains Gladney.
Chris Johnson, Richmond County tax commissioner, tells FOX54 his office's procedures are taking place as expected.
“We are still taking motor vehicle and property taxes and processing those transactions," Johnson describes. "It’s a little bit slower, a little more cumbersome.”
Ronald King recently moved to Augusta. He went to the West Augusta Tag Office this morning to transfer his vehicle registration.
“The process went as expected," says King, "just a little delay in wait time getting to the window. Once I got to the window, it seemed to process just as it would normally.”
He says he wouldn't have expected the Cyber City to fall victim to a cybersecurity breach.
“I am concerned with a cyber security attack because other governments are working on this 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
The city's prepared statement did address fire and public safety services, telling FOX54 those are operating normally. President Gary Coker of Central EMS says ambulances are being dispatched through the fire department as usual, but all correspondence in doing so is being had by phone. He says this results in some delay, but so far, his teams are managing the challenge.
Sheriff Richard Roundtree did not return our request for comment.
FOX54 has sought but not yet received any confirmation or denial as to whether or not this is a ransomware attack. A ransomware attack holds certain systems hostage until a payment is made. This has happened in cities and counties across the country, recently in Columbus and and Rockdale County, Georgia. FOX54 is working to find out if the FBI or GBI are involved in the city's investigation.
This story is developing.
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