DUNWOODY, Ga. — Someone spent their Christmas Eve trying to hijack Dunwoody's computer systems in a ransomware attack, but failed, the city says.

The City of Dunwoody announced the repelled attack on Thursday, saying it's now working with FBI to investigate the incident.

The city said a company it contracts with for cyber security, InterDev, received an alert on Christmas Eve about an issue with the Dunwoody computer systems. 

"A security team responded immediately to isolate the problem and protect systems from harm," a city release said.

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According to the city, the Dunwoody Police Department used backup procedures to keep things running through the holiday season, and that public safety was never compromised.

"None of our data was compromised, and so we're very thankful for that... it was our IT's quick response," Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan said. "They asked for a ransom in bitcoin and of course we didn't pay it. We locked down our systems immediately and then recovered our data from our backup."

Grogan credited the IT department for doing a "fantastic job backing up all the data offsite" and then restoring it.

In the days after the city reacted to the attack, Grogan said, they had to do things "the old fashioned way."

"(We) had to start writing our reports by hand, issuing citations by hand, and interestingly enough there was a lot of officers who've never done that," Grogan said. "They've only done electronic reports, and so it was a little bit of a change for us, but nothing really interfered with the services that we're delivering."

"I think the real key is responding quickly to these situations. And we were fortunate because an employee noticed something, was able to bring it to IT's attention, and IT acted swiftly even though it was a holiday, Christmas Eve," Grogan added. "They actually came up here and then they worked pretty much 24/7 for the next week trying to get our systems back up and running and restored. So really the lesson is you have to respond quickly when you do have something like this happen."


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