Ransomware attack cost city $2.7 million, records show

ATLANTA — Channel 2 Action News has found out how much the ransomware cyberattack on the City of Atlanta is going to cost tax payers.

The attacker demanded a $50,000 ransom to restore the city's systems. Channel 2 Action News has learned the city is now facing a $2.7 million price tag to fix it.

So far, city leaders have given few specifics about the source and the scope of the cyberattack.

[READ: City of Atlanta confirms 'ransomware cyber attack' on network servers]

“They were probably not as protected as we probably thought they were,” Georgia State University cybersecurity researcher Don Hunt said.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant obtained new records that confirm the city of Atlanta shelled out nearly $2.7 million on eight emergency contracts following last month's crippling cyberattack on city networks.

“They’ve got some really big players on the team there, and they’re spending a lot of money, so the depth of the problems that they had are probably enormous,” Hunt said.


The city signed a $650,000 contract with cybersecurity firm SecureWorks to assess the damage and develop action plans.

Plus, the city signed two more contracts, worth more than $1 million, with private technology firms to work on the city’s information management and municipal court systems.

[READ: Investigation: Red flags raised months before ransomware attack on City Hall]

“That’s absolutely construction work. What they’re looking to do is not revamping the system, they’re starting from scratch and going from the ground up again,” Hunt said.

Five days after the attack, the city’s law department signed a $600,000 contract with management consultant Ernst and Young for advisory services and another $50,000 to public relations firm Edelman for crisis communication services.

[READ: Atlanta City Hall employees told to not turn on computers]

“You’re talking about the possibility of privacy being violated. It could be an indicator that you’ve got a deeper problem inside or potentially a deeper problem that you want to get ahead of right away,” Hunt said.