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Georgia county at centre of Trump case targeted by cyberattack

There is currently nothing to suggest the cyberattack was politically motivated or connected to the case prosecuting Donald Trump

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Tuesday 30 January 2024 16:57 GMT
Related video: Fulton County IT outage outage affects taxes

The Georgia county where former president Donald Trump is being prosecuted for election interference has been targeted in a wide-ranging cyberattack.

The Fulton County IT department said in a statement that its internet-based phone system has been disabled, as have computers which are storing court documents.

Fulton County Board of Commissioners Chairman Robb Pitts told reporters at a press briefing on Monday that the attack is being investigated by law enforcement, adding that it is unclear when the system will be restored.

The office of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is in charge of the probe into Mr Trump, has been affected by the outages, The Messenger noted.

There’s nothing to suggest that the cyberattack was politically motivated or connected to the case prosecuting the former president.

Ms Willis is prosecuting Mr Trump and a large number of co-defendants on RICO charges following their attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in the state.

President Joe Biden became the first Democrat to win Georgia on the presidential level since former president Bill Clinton won the state in 1992.

Following the cyberattack, the tax commissioner’s office for Fulton Country in Atlanta was closed on Monday and other offices in the county restricted its services.

While public computers at libraries in Fulton County could not be used on Monday, online services were still accessible.

“We at Fulton County take cybersecurity seriously and we place a high priority on the protection of sensitive information,” Mr Pitts said on Monday, according to CNN.

District Attorney for Fulton County, Fani Willis (AP)

“At this time, we are not aware of any transfer of sensitive information about citizens or employees, but we will continue to look carefully at this issue.”

The DA’s office no longer has access to its phones, the internet, or the site for the courts, CNN noted.

“The FBI routinely advises the public and private sectors about cyber threats in order to help them guard against the actions of cyber criminals,” the agency told the network. “We work with our interagency partners to identify, pursue, and defeat all those who partake in cybercrime.”

Governments on both the state and local levels have been dealing with cyberattacks for years, with Atlanta having to shell out almost $3m following a 2018 attack and Baltimore spending at least $18m to recover after a 2019 attack.

The largest county in New Mexico was struck by two cyberattacks in January 2022, forcing the closure of public schools in Albuquerque and shutting down cameras at a jail.

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