The City of Augusta has confirmed that unauthorized access to its network caused a recent IT system outage. Although city officials have not confirmed the nature of the cyberattack, the BlackByte ransomware group has claimed responsibility for the incident. According to a post on its online portal, the city started experiencing “technical difficulties” disrupting some of its computer systems on Sunday, May 21. The announcement also claims this incident is unrelated to a previous IT system outage. An investigation into the incident is underway, and the city is working to “restore full functionality to [its] systems as soon as possible.” However, it is unclear whether threat actors accessed or stole sensitive data. According to the city’s announcement, “Augusta’s Information Technology Department continues to work diligently to investigate the incident, to confirm its impact on [its] systems, and to restore full functionality to [its] systems as soon as possible.” Augusta’s mayor, Garnett Johnson, denied claims that BlackByte demanded a $50 million ransom. Augusta is the second-largest city in Georgia, behind Atlanta, and its metropolitan area houses over 611,000 people. BlackByte is a ransomware gang that was first identified in July 2021. They operate a Ransomware-as-a-Service model and deploy double extortion techniques to coerce their victims into paying ransoms.
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