GA: Cornelia fends off third ransomware attack of the year, upgrades firewall

Rob Moore reports:

A ransomware attack on City of Cornelia’s computerized billing system last week resulted in a day of lost productivity, but city leaders are taking steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

“We did not get to the point of like Atlanta where they actually held us [for] ransom,” City Manager Donald Anderson said. “We were able to go back to our off-storage back-ups to the day before and get us up and running, but it did shut us down for a day.”

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Cornelia, GA had a population of 4,160 at the 2010 census. It is not a huge city. And what it is going through is pretty much what I think we can expect to see in a lot of cities throughout the country.  As Moore reports:

Until about 12 to 18 months ago, the city didn’t have a full-time information technology person and contracted with someone to provide that service from offsite.

The current firewall is more than 10 years old and is no longer supported or updated by the company because of its age.

So now they are starting to invest more — in terms of having a full-time IT person and in terms of upgrading their firewall, which will cost them close to $30,000 for the firewall, as well as software and support for the next five years.

And while that may seem like a lot for a small city, think about the amount of ransom attackers are demanding. If they get good security and backups in place, this is a bargain. The fact that they had an off-storage backup from the day before shows that this is a city that seems to be moving in the right direction on security.

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