No personal info breached in City of Knoxville ransomware attack, officials say

City of Knoxville employee computers have been attacked by ransomware, according to an email sent to city employees.
Updated: Jun. 11, 2020 at 12:52 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The City of Knoxville computer networks have been attacked by ransomware, according to an email sent to city employees.

“Please be advised that our network has been attacked with ransomware,” said the notice sent Thursday morning. “Information Systems is currently following recommended protocols. This includes shutting down servers, our internet connections, and PCs. Please do not log in to the network or use computer applications at this time.”

David Brace COO Deputy Assistant to the Mayor said The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigating is assisting with the attack.

A city spokesperson said the technology team worked to shut down the city’s computer network, identify and isolate problems, and minimize damage.

City offices and services will continue to operate as normal, although the computer issues may cause some minor inconveniences, officials said.

Brace said investigators have not been able to pinpoint the exact way the ransomware entered the system. Officials became aware of the issue after someone at the fire department opened their computer and saw a screen saying the system had been infected with ransomware.

“Ransomware is a software that oftentimes comes into your system through a phishing email,” said Brace. “Ransomware is basically, ‘we lock your stuff down and you give us money to get it back.’”

He said the software works by encrypting information on the machine and making it no longer accessible.

No personal information was breached in the hack, Brace said.

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