COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Nearly 100 business owners were part of an emergency Zoom meeting Monday all centered around an FBI investigation into hackers shutting down Georgia’s emissions system.
The Georgia Department of Revenue said its automated systems have been offline since March 31.
The FBI is now investigating it as a cyberware attack that has halted all emission testing across Georgia and seven other states.
The outages are delivering a huge blow to small business owners. The CEO of Applus Technologies, whose software runs the system, apologized during the emergency meeting Monday.
Channel 2′s Michael Seiden spoke with one of the business owners who has been hit hard by the outages.
“All of the sudden, we were doing emissions testing just like normal and the system just kind of shut down,” said James Baxter, who owns BP Car Care Tire Pros. “We haven’t been able to do emissions since.”
Baxter said before the cyberattack, his full service automobile shop conducted more than 100 vehicle emissions tests per day.
“Emissions is $25. You can imagine the revenue loss. We have employees that are out of work because of this,” he said.
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According to a recent letter from the Department of Revenue, it’s unclear when the system will be back online.
Anyone required to get an inspection before renewing their vehicle registration gets a waiver until the system is fixed.
Does the state have a plan when it comes to the lost revenue?
“The state of Georgia has no ability to compensate for your losses, other than to understand this is a very serious situation for you. I regret that this has happened,” Georgia Environmental Protection Division’s Karen Hays said.
Baxter said he is fortunate that his business can provide additional services, but many of his friends could face serious financial trouble.
“That’s all they do and they’re completely out of business right now, so I really feel for them,” Baxter said.
Officials aren’t sure when the system will go back online. When it comes to personal information, it’s unclear if the hackers were able to access any of it.
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