Fulton County

Clock ticking for Fulton County government as hacker deadline looms

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — Cybercriminals say they plan to leak personal data they stole from the Fulton County government. They set a ransom payment deadline for 8:49 a.m. Thursday morning.

Channel 2′s Bryan Mims was at the Fulton County Government Center, where this is the second deadline in the past two weeks.

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For Shanda Dunlap, it’s frustrating. She says she’s spent days trying to address a property tax issue at the Fulton County Government Center, but employees told her the recent ransomware attack has hindered the process. She thinks the county should pay the ransom.

The malware group known as LockBit has set a new deadline for Fulton County: 8:49 a.m. Thursday. With the deadline comes a renewed threat – pay the ransom or the data could be released on the dark web.

“Pay it, pay it, pay it,” she said. “I’ve been down here three or four times, trying to get this same thing done.”

She thinks paying the ransom would prevent sensitive information from being compromised – and get the county computer systems back to normal.

“Everybody else is paying, just pay those folks,” she said. “We’re not gonna beat them. We don’t think like that. We don’t think like the criminal mind does.”


On Feb. 19, agencies from the U.S. and several other countries shut down LockBit’s dark website, only for another website to appear. And along with it, another threat.

“We believe they have Fulton County’s data because they have published on the dark web all of these snippets of Fulton County’s data that shows they have it,” said Rick Hudson, chief technical officer at Critical Path Security.

He said data includes information from anyone who’s ever interacted with the Fulton County government.

“Your life is in those servers – anything from HIV clinics to birth records to birth certificates.”

County officials did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday about the new deadline. They did not pay after the last deadline nearly two weeks ago, saying they “could not in good conscience” use taxpayer money for that purpose.

Officials sent a written statement this week.

“While we understand there are questions as to the exact contents of this data and whether citizens’ personal information may have been in this data – the answer at this time is that we still don’t know.

“Our teams are actively working with leading cybersecurity experts to determine what data may have been stolen and gain a better understanding of what information may be involved, which includes an extensive review process.”

Fulton County resident Dana Colquitt isn’t so sure about the county paying the ransom, but she’s concerned about what information could be compromised.

“If there’s a ransom out there, my personal information is at risk, as well as my family, friends and loved ones.”

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