Georgia police hit with ransomware infection

Laptops across state patrol, capitol police and the vehicle inspection division went offline Friday.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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The infection took out Georgia's state patrol, capitol police and motor carrier compliance.

James Martin/CNET

The Georgia Department of Public Safety was hit by a ransomware infection Friday that affected state patrol, capitol police and the Georgia Motor Carrier Compliance Division, which does safety inspections. Laptops installed in police cars lost connectivity and access to police information as a result, CNET sister site ZDNet reported Monday.

Ransomware attacks use malware to lock out users unless the hackers get paid. Cities and municipalities often get targeted because they can't afford to have services down. 

The infection was contained by DPS shutting down its IT systems, including email servers, public website and backend servers. Police officers are instead using their work phones and car radios to request information, ZDNet said.

Earlier this month, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and the Lawrenceville Police department in Georgia were also reportedly hit by ransomware.

In July, more than 225 US mayors signed a resolution not to pay ransoms to hackers. Twenty-two cyberattacks have shut down city, county and state government computer systems this year alone including the hacks against two Florida cities, Lake City and Rivera Beach, that saw a combined ransom of more than $1 million.

"The United States Conference of Mayors stands united against paying ransoms in the event of an IT security breach," the resolution, adopted at the US Conference of Mayors annual meeting, says.