When Hinesville’s computer systems went down in February, city officials called it an “IT outage.”
They called it something else Monday.
“On February 20, 2018, the city of Hinesville learned of a ransomware incident affecting certain servers and machines on its computer network,” the release said. “The city immediately commenced an investigation into the nature and scope of this incident and worked with outside computer forensics experts to do so.”
Ransomware is a type of malicious software that threatens to publish the victim's data or perpetually block access to it unless a ransom is paid, according to techterms.com.
The city’s computer woes coincided with a similar attack on the computer systems in Savannah, which were hacked Feb. 13.
Municipal email and telephone systems were impacted as well as Hinesville’s ability to receive payments, job applications and more.
There is no timeline for the restoration of services. The city did get phone systems repaired and had its email system restored, according to city officials.
However residents looking to pay their water bills must still pay in person because the online system is still down. Due to the inconvenience, water customers will not be penalized for paying late until March 20. Hinesville has approximately 10,000 water customers.
The release issued Monday says no personal information was compromised.
“At this time, the investigation has found no indication of unauthorized access to or removal of sensitive data stored within the city’s computer network,” the release said. “The city continues to restore its affected systems and take steps to protect against similar incidents in the future.”