City of Augusta Suffers Cyberattack

The IT system of the City of Augusta, located in Georgia, U.S., recently experienced an outage due to unauthorized access to its network. Although the administration has not disclosed the nature of the cyberattack, the BlackByte ransomware gang has claimed responsibility for the attack. Augusta is the second-largest city in Georgia after Atlanta, and its metropolitan area has a population of over 611,000.

The city reported that it started experiencing technical difficulties on Sunday, May 21, which disrupted some of its computer systems. This incident is unrelated to the IT system outage that occurred the previous week. An investigation is underway to determine the full impact of the cyberattack and to restore full functionality to the systems as soon as possible.

It remains unclear whether the threat actors managed to access or steal any sensitive data. However, Augusta’s Information Technology Department is working diligently to investigate the incident, confirm its impact on the systems, and restore full functionality to the systems as soon as possible. The city also confirmed that recent media reports about Augusta being held hostage for a $50 million ransom are false.

BlackByte Extortion

BlackByte, the ransomware gang responsible for the cyberattack on the City of Augusta, has posted the city on its extortion site. The threat actors have even created a pop-up on the site to highlight their latest victim to all site visitors, warning the city’s administration that “the clock is ticking” and asking them to make contact. BlackByte claims to hold troves of sensitive data stolen from Augusta’s computers and has leaked a sample of 10GB of data as proof of their breach.

The leaked documents contain payroll information, contact details, personally identifiable information (PII), physical addresses, contracts, city budget allocation data, and other types of details. However, it is important to note that the origin and authenticity of the leaked data have not been verified.

The ransom demanded for deleting the stolen information is $400,000. The BlackByte ransomware gang also offers to resell the data to interested third parties for $300,000.

How Did Hackers Successfully Breach the University of Manchester’s Data?

The recent university of manchester data breach has raised concerns about cybersecurity. Hackers were able to successfully infiltrate the university’s data system, causing a significant breach. Investigations are underway to determine the exact methods employed by the hackers and the extent of the damage caused. Safeguarding sensitive information and strengthening cybersecurity measures remains paramount to prevent future breaches.

Other Ransomware Attacks on Major Cities in North America

Several ransomware attacks have occurred across major cities in North America this year, disrupting the delivery of essential services to citizens. In February, the City of Oakland in California suffered a ransomware attack from the Play gang, forcing it to declare an emergency. By March, another ransomware group, LockBit, claimed a second attack on the City of Oakland.

In late March, the City of Toronto, Canada was breached by the Clop ransomware gang that exploited a GoAnywhere zero-day vulnerability for initial access to the systems. More recently, in May, the City of Dallas, Texas was attacked by the Royal ransomware group, forcing the metropolis to shut down many of its IT systems to contain the infection.

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