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City of Woodstock suffered from a cyber attack


City of Woodstock in Cherokee County of Georgia, United States, is attempting to recover from the cyber attack that was successful in blocking access to the email along with virtually all of the files that are involved in operation of municipal government. The level and extent of this problem has not been discovered until early morning of Sep. 21, 2019, said David Creery, Chief Administrative Officer of Woodstock.


"It's a virus. It has the appearance of being a ransom, but we have not received a ransom demand at this point," said Creery.


The Woodstock city has hired outside consultants for executing a three-pronged strategy. First step was the containment - cutting off the connections to outside in order to avoid further spreading of the virus. "We continue to minimize risk by keeping our systems offline until the investigation is complete," said Creey.


Second step is the investigation, looking at endpoints and service points of network and then extracting the evidence. Creery said that "we need to know why, how, when this entered our system, and those are the questions that we're seeking answers for right now". The city especially wanted to know how these invaders' penetrated the two layers of the malware protection along with other features on network that are designed for impeding the unwanted access.


The final and third step is the recovery effort. "At this point, we're not exploring ransom. We're looking to recover our systems on our own but we won't discount that option ... We have not been contacted but nor have we attempted to contact (the attacker) at this point," said Creery.


There is no indication till now that any financial or personal data has been accessed or transferred in this cyber attack, Creery added.


Woodstock Museum, Woodstock Public Library and Woodstock Art Gallery were also impacted by this cyber attack, since they share infrastructure with Woodstock city.


Although residents of the Woodstock cannot send any email to the city hall, the website of the city is still accessible to public, since it is hosted externally and thus not connected to Woodstock city's network.

Moreover, most of the conventional services of Woodstock have also been operating normally, including the garbage pick-up.


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