Over the weekend, Georgia’s most populous county, Fulton County, encountered a significant disruption in its operations due to a cybersecurity incident, according to officials.
Robb Pitts, the county commission Chair, disclosed in a social media video on Monday that the county, including its phone, court, and tax systems, was experiencing a widespread system outage.
While the outage raised concerns about its impact on various county functions, including court operations, officials assured the racketeering case against former President Donald Trump remains unaffected.
The Fulton County District Attorney’s office, led by Fani Willis, clarified that the case related to Trump and others involved in an alleged scheme to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia is housed in a separate, highly secure system that was not compromised by the cyberattack.
However, the district attorney’s office emphasized that the electronic court filing system outage was severely affecting its operations. The disruption resulted in the temporary unavailability of Fulton County’s online court records website, hindering access to critical information for ongoing legal proceedings.
Moreover, the outage impacted communication between the Atlanta Police Department and the district attorney’s office, as the former refrained from sending or opening emails from the latter due to concerns about the security of its systems. This communication setback significantly impeded prosecutors’ work, given that most cases originate from the Atlanta police.
The investigation into the outage has been initiated, with the county promptly reporting the incident to law enforcement. While the FBI’s Atlanta office acknowledged its awareness of the breach and engagement with the county’s information technology department, specific details about the incident were not disclosed.
As the outage investigation continues, county spokesperson Jessica Corbitt indicated on Tuesday that there was no timeline for restoring the affected systems. Although most county offices remained operational, certain transactions were limited due to the ongoing outage, as stated on the county’s website.
The disruption underscores the vulnerability of critical infrastructure to cybersecurity threats and highlights the challenges posed by such incidents in maintaining essential public services.
Despite the setback, efforts are underway to address the outage and restore normalcy to Fulton County’s operations, emphasizing the importance of robust cybersecurity measures in safeguarding sensitive information and ensuring the continuity of government functions.