Cyberattack hits Dawson County computers

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Dawson County is the latest target of a ransomware attack. The county said it’s getting help from the FBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Secret Service, and cybersecurity experts.

For Tina Vernon and other Dawson County employees, it’s been a tough couple of days at work ever since the county discovered a ransomware attack on Monday.

“We’re able to work just certain programs we’re can’t get into right now,” said Tina Vernon, a clerk with Dawson County.

Dawson County resident Robert Thornton is trying to make sense of the malicious hack.

“Why Dawsonville? The only thing my wife can think of is maybe when they were doing Atlanta they somehow found some ins into this one,” said Thornton.

The ransomware attack in Dawson County follows the recent cyber meltdown where the city of Atlanta spent more than $2 million to fix a malicious hack.

“I’m not aware of any government entity ever paying for ransomware,” said Mark Campbell, a metro Atlanta attorney specializing in cybercrimes.

Campbell said Dawson County will have to either neutralize the ransomware or pay whoever hacked into the county to remove the malware.

“If the money were paid, an extremely sophisticated hacker and most of them are, would be extremely difficult to trace,” said Campbell.

On its website, the county said critical services like law enforcement, fire protection, and the 911 call center are all intact. But it’s unclear how long it will take to get the cyberattack resolved.

“We’re just trying to make due until they figure out how to get us back to work like they normally would,” said Tina Vernon.

Dawson County said no personal information has been compromised and county employees cannot send or receive emails from the county system.