Although the 48-year-old mayor said the city's electronic payroll processes would not be affected, she indicated during the briefing that she would be "signing 8,000 checks if necessary".
Bottoms strongly recommended that city employees monitor their bank accounts for any suspicious activity. "Our city website, Atlantaga.gov, remains accessible and we will provide updates as we receive them." officials said in a statement. Cox noted that while several city departments have been impacted, the departments of public safety, water services and airport are operating without incident.
Hackers have infiltrated the city's computer network and have caused outages to multiple internal and external applications for the city, including apps people use to pay bills and view legal documents.
"At this time we are actively working with the FBI, (the U.S. Department of Homeland Security), the Microsoft and Cisco incident response teams and other federal partners", she said.
When asked if the city would pay the ransom, Bottoms said Thursday: "We can't speak to that right now".
Apparently, the hacker is demanding the city pay $51,000 to unlock all the infected systems or $6,800 per unit, according to local news channel 11Alive. They could easily decide to continue holding your data hostage until they are paid even more, leave themselves a backdoor to encrypt your data again at a later time, or encourage them to target other enterprises. "All of us are subject to this attack, if you will. Because we don't know, I think it would be appropriate for the public to be vigilant checking their accounts and making sure credit agencies can also be notified".
On the ground in the city are officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and even the Secret Service.
Atlanta COO Richard Cox confirmed the attack in a news conference Thursday afternoon.
"We have been taking active measures to mitigate this in the past", interim Chief Information Officer Daphne Rackley said.
The city officials did not say whether a decision has been made on whether or not they will be paying the requested ransom.