Gwinnett County

Lawrenceville police latest victims of cyberattack

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — A local police department is under attack by computer hackers demanding money.

Investigators at the Lawrenceville Police Department told Channel 2 Gwinnett County Bureau Chief Tony Thomas that they aren't going to pay any demands that might come in.

Most of the department's data, including body camera video, has been hijacked by ransomware.

Lawrenceville police say most of their electronic reports and all body camera video from years' worth of cases are now encrypted by an unknown attacker.

No contact has been made so far with any money demand, but police computers are down as the FBI and private cybersecurity experts look into the attack.

“It appears the Police Department was the sole target,” said Lt. Jake Parker, with the Lawrenceville Police Department.


Thomas learned Friday that the Lawrenceville City Hall and its services are unaffected by the attack.

When Thomas visited Lawrenceville police's dispatch center Friday, its operations were running as normal.

The city insists it will not pay any ransom demand. Investigators believe a virus started all this back in March and the attackers have been quietly watching.

“Whoever is our threat actor is watching you for a period of time to see what is your most valuable information,” Parker said.

The Lawrenceville attack was then launched over the weekend. It all happened in the same week that the same program attacked government computers in Henry County and the Blackshear Police Department in south Georgia.

A source told Thomas it's a regular occurrence in Georgia and no community, big or small, is immune.

Lawrenceville police said they have no idea if or when they may get any of their information back.

“Right now, a lot of that has been encrypted so we can't access it,” Parker said.

The FBI confirmed it is now involved in this and other cases.

The city of Lawrenceville released a statement late Friday, saying:

"Computers in the network of the City of Lawrenceville Police Department were encrypted by ransomware. As soon as it occurred, the City began working to investigate the cause, to restore operations, and determine the effects of the incident. The matter has been reported to the FBI and the City has brought in cybersecurity experts to assist us.

"Police operations continue to provide public safety service to the community without interruption. At this time, to our knowledge, City Hall computers and networks have not been affected. It appears that the police department was the target."