ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - A critical cyber attack is affecting law enforcement officers across the state. The Georgia State Patrol is the latest victim of a ransomware attack.
The attack was discovered late last month. Not knowing how widespread the problem was, the Georgia State Patrol shut down their network. Cybersecurity expert and Georgia Tech Professor Brendan Saltaformaggio says recovering from an attack like this takes time and it's difficult to track down who's behind the attack.
"It's not like a physical world attack, there's very little evidence left behind," Saltaformaggio said.
The attack affects the State Patrol, the Capitol Police and the Motor Carrier Compliance Division.
Hundreds of laptops are now offline. The same computers troopers rely on to retrieve license and warrant information before they approach a vehicle.
But it hasn't stopped them from doing their job, they're relying on radios and phones.
"They just don't have that technology readily at their fingertips inside the vehicles at this time. Traffic accidents are still being investigated at this time. We're still assisting agencies," said Georgia State Patrol Lt. Stephanie Stallings.
Cyber attackers often target agencies that have critical information stored in their systems, betting the victims will pay a ransom. The Georgia State Patrol says they're not paying. Instead, they have teams working around the clock to determine how widespread the problem is and how to work around it.
'It's the next battlefield really. You need to have an army to defend your country the same way you need an army to defend your network," Saltaformaggio said.