McDONOUGH — It is not known when Henry County’s operations will fully return to normal after a reported “cyber incident” brought the county’s IT system down early Wednesday morning.
What is known, however, was that many of Henry County’s systems were still down Friday afternoon, according to Melissa Robinson, public information officer for the county.
Robinson said the internet is back up and running and it’s expected that email and some servers may be back up sometime over the weekend. IT officials will spend the weekend scanning some 1,800 county computers to check for any malware before they’re all brought back online.
“We have a lot of people working on this to make sure the county’s safe,” Robinson said.
She noted, however, the source of the “incident” has not been identified.
“Right now everyone’s working hard to get everything online again,” she said. “We’re still in the discovery phase.”
Trouble began with the county’s system around 3 or 4 a.m. Wednesday. Tech services received an alarm that something may have been “amiss.”
As a result, erring on the side of caution, various systems were taken down, and “nearly every system” was down on Thursday afternoon.
These systems include the budgeting system, procurement system and the Planning and Zoning Department. Building permits had not been available Wednesday but were made available Thursday.
Robinson said despite the loss of technology, departments are finding “work-arounds” to do their jobs and serve the county’s residents.
“We’re being resourceful,” she said. “And we’ll continue offering services.”
Though most county departments were affected, some were able to stay online such as the public safety and court systems.
“We had no continuances or delays in prosecuting cases because of the technology issues. We currently do not have email, but are continuing operations,” said Megan Matteucci, assistant district attorney for the county.
Also unaffected by the outage was the tag office on the first floor of the Henry County Administration Building, where business was still operating as usual. Payroll for the county’s 1,700 employees was also not affected by the outage.
Robinson said the FBI was contacted to assist with the issue, and they would potentially handle any kind of situations concerning ransomware, if the cyber incident is similar to one that impacted the city of Atlanta in 2018.
According to Wired Magazine, in 2018, the city of Atlanta’s systems were impacted by the SamSam malware, and hackers demanded $50,000 in bitcoin. According to the article from Wired, the city spent over $2.6 million to recover from the attack.