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Five Important Factors To Know About Atlanta's Glossed Over Cyberattack

"This is really an attack on our government, which means it's an attack on all of us," Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said. 

Atlanta's computer network was thrown for a loop recently when it was invaded with ransomware. The quiet but extremely vital incident hasn't be apart of the news cycle, but is serving as a warning of what can happen in a paperless world.

On Mar. 22, a ransomware cyberattack shut down the City of Atlanta's system. The Department of Atlanta’s Information Management team first noticed some outages at 5:40 a.m. According to a statement from Richard Cox, the city’s interim Chief of Operations, the outages occurred in various internal and customer applications “including some applications customers use to pay bills or access court related information.” The New York Times has referred to the attack as “one of the most sustained and consequential cyberattacks ever mounted against a major American city.”

Officials are still scrabbling as they have not made a decision to pay the ransom or to just move on the best way they see fit.

Here's a brief in-depth guide to everything that went down, from then to now.

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The Cyberattack Has Been Labeled As A Ransomware Attack

Ransomware is an attempt where malware is thrown into a computer system until money is paid. In this case, hackers demanded 6 bitcoins, which translates into $51,000. Newly elected mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms compared the incident to a hostage situation.

"Just as we wouldn't give away too much information if there was a physical hostage, we do have to be careful," she said strongly at a press conference Monday (Mar. 26). "I can tell you that we are working around the clock." Ransomeware is nothing new. Research from cybersecurity firm Bitdefender found that two billion was paid by victims in 2017 with ransoms passing the billion mark in 2016.

As time passes and technology gets smarter, ransomware has gotten harder to combat. Cyberscoop points out that the number can be higher since most ransomeware attacks aren't reported for a number of reasons like embarrassment. Companies like Equifax and Facebook have recently dealt with similar attacks. Uber also faced a similar breach in 2017 that flew under the radar.

Bottoms also mentioned she wasn't opposed to paying the ransom as "everything is up for discussion."

Officials Know Who Is Behind The Attack 

 SamSam is the strand of ransomware used in the attack and officials are certain that it will strike again. During the course of this year alone, the ransomware group behind the Atlanta attack has already extorted up to a $1 million in ransoms, according to The New York Times. Dell SecureWorks, a private company based in Atlanta, was called in to assist the city. Its President & CEO, Michael R. Cote was also present at the conference as he made it clear that a lot of work is still left to be done. “We are transitioning into the recovery phase to include the methodical restoration of critical system,” Cote said. "We still have a lot of work to do. We are beginning to move into the recovery phase. So there is multiple phases when you do an incident response investigation.”

The FBI Has Gotten Involved

In addition to Secure Works, the FBI, Homeland Security and the Secret Service are apart of the investigative group. The city's website features a F.A.Q, about the "cross-functional incident response team" and their plans  to prevent future attacks. Educational partners from Georgia Tech have also been called in as reinforcements.

Atlanta Officials Are Filling Out Forms By Hand 

Despite officials being told to turn their computers and printers back on Tuesday (Mar. 27), full service has yet to be restored. This means people are unable to pay their water bill or their parking tickets online. The city's 13 departments have been forced to do their jobs manually, by writing reports by hand.

No Personal Information Has Been Affected In The Cyberattack 

So far, there is no proof showing that personal information was released. "We have not seen any evidence that personal information has been misused as a result of this incident. However, as always, residents are encouraged to take precautionary measures to maintain the safety and security of their personal information," said the City of Atlanta's website. Despite no personal information being released, experts like Andrew Green, an information security lecturer at Kennesaw State University, believe this should be a "wakeup call" for the rest of the nation. "And so, this is a wakeup call, potentially, that cities need to start looking at how seriously they’re taking their own cybersecurity posture,” Green told FOX News.

Atlanta city council member Howard Shook did share his sadness over losing a large amount of information and the longing for an analog system. “Stuff is lost. I’m a tiny little example, but my computers—the contents have to be euthanized," he told The New Yorker. “We’ll rebuild the contacts, but, for me, the lesson learned is: this longtime goal of moving to a paperless society looks a lot less exalted now than it did a week ago. I’d give anything for a hard copy of everything I lost.”

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Tory Lanez Sued For Alleged Attack In Miami Nightclub

Tory Lanez is facing legal trouble over an alleged altercation that went down inside Miami’s LIV nightclub last year. Christopher “Prince” Harty, an up-and-coming artist and Miami promoter who appeared on Love & Hip-Hop: Miami claims that Lanez attacked him last November.

The onetime reality star alleges that Lanez, along with his entourage and security team, punched and attacked him in the nightclub. According to reports, Prince claims to have suffered blunt force trauma to his head, neck, and chest, in addition to contusions, bruises and anxiety, as a result of the incident. He is suing for unspecified damages.

“They backed me into a corner, and once I was there, they started stomping on me, jumping me,” he recalled to NBC Miami.

He believes that the friction stemmed from an Instagram post about music. “They felt that I was insinuating that they stole the record from me, and I was just like, no, I would never do that, that was never my intention. I had no issue with him at all.”

A portion of the incident was captured on cellphone video. Prince stated that he knew Lanez prior to the run-in, and helped get him into clubs before.

His attorney, Marwan Porter of Porter Law Firm, called the violent incident “a chronic problem” with Lanez who is accused of shooting Megan Thee Stallion in July. The 28-year-old recording artist has yet to publicly address either incident.

Hear more from Prince in the video below.

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Cardi B Opens Up About Filing For Divorce From Offset

Cardi B took to Instagram Live on Friday (Sept. 18) to air out a few things about filing for divorce from Offset.

The Bronx rapper made it clear that she didn’t file for divorce as a publicity stunt to promote her upcoming album. “I’m not doing it for clout and on top of that I don’t need stunts to sell music,” she said. “I’m not [trying to] brag but don’t ever say I’m doing anything for clout. My first album is three-times platinum and I didn’t need no stunts to do that. My [“Wap”] single is no. 1 worldwide why would I need stunts to sell music? I don’t need stunts — [especially] when it comes to family — to sell anything, so don’t play yourself.”

As for the reason for the divorce filing, the estranged couple simply grew apart. “Nothing crazy out of this world happened, sometimes people really do grow apart. I been with this man for four years. I have a kid with this man, I have a household with this man…sometimes you’re just tired of the arguments and the build up. You get tired sometimes and before something happens, you leave.”

“I just wanna' be a free bird,” Cardi said after questioning whether people secretly want infidelity to be the reason for the split.

“I am the f**king clout,” she added. “I never needed anything. I never needed no stunts to sell sh*t.Why would I need anything to sell my next album?”

Speaking of the new album, Cardi has been indecisive about choosing her next single because “WAP” did so well. “That means that my second single has to be even better.”

Towards the end of her venting session, Cardi reiterated that she’s focusing on her work, and revealed that she's starting new business for her daughter Kulture.

 

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A post shared by HIPHOLLYWOOD (@hiphollywood) on Sep 18, 2020 at 10:23pm PDT

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Barack Obama Announces Release Date For ‘A Promised Land’ Memoir

Following the mega-success of his wife’s Becoming release, Barack Obama is poised to debut his own memoir, A Promised Land, this fall. The former president made the literary announcement on Twitter on Thursday (Sept. 17).

“There’s no feeling like finishing a book and I’m proud of this one,” Obama tweeted while explaining that he tries to give an “honest account” of his presidency in the book. The release will also touch on “the forces we grapple with as a nation, and how we can heal our division and make democracy work for everybody.”

There’s no feeling like finishing a book, and I’m proud of this one. In 'A Promised Land,' I try to provide an honest accounting of my presidency, the forces we grapple with as a nation, and how we can heal our divisions and make democracy work for everybody. pic.twitter.com/T1QSZVDvOm

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) September 17, 2020

The highly anticipated and introspective release takes readers on a “compelling journey” and details Obama’s “improbable odyssey from a young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world.” Included in the memoir are striking personal details about his political education, as well as landmark moments from his first term presidency.

The Obamas secured the reported $60 million book deals around a year after ending their tenure in the White House. Michelle Obama’s book became the best-selling memoir in history.

A Promised Land is currently available for pre-order at Obamabook.com. The memoir will be released on Nov. 17.

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