The city of Albany, N.Y., confirmed on March 30 that it was hit by a ransomware attack that affected municipal government computers.

“The City of Albany has experienced a ransomware cyberattack,” Mayor Kathy Sheehan tweeted. “We are currently determining the extent of the compromise. We are committed to keeping you informed and will provide updates as they become available.”

Sheehan later said that based on the initial investigation, it appears as though no personal or sensitive information about government employees and city residents was stolen during the attack. Despite that, the city will be offering free credit monitoring to all city employees as a precaution. Sheehan noted that while Albany residents can use credit cards to pay city taxes, the government does not retain credit card information.

Additional details on the attack are hard to come by and the city has not commented on who was behind the attack, how much information was compromised, and whether the city intends to pay any ransom.

In a statement on March 31, Brian Shea, a spokesperson for the mayor, said that “city officials have worked throughout the weekend responding to this incident.” He noted that city employees were expected to report to work as usual on April 1 and that government buildings would be open to the public by the afternoon on Monday. Additionally, all city services are open, except residents will have to visit a physical office to request copies of birth, death, or marriage certificates, or apply for a marriage license, as online portals are not running currently.

Albany isn’t the first local government hit with a ransomware attack. Last month, Jackson County, Ga., paid cybercriminals $400,000 to remove ransomware that infected its IT systems. The ransomware, known as Ryuk Ransomware, hit the county on March 1 and impacted multiple county agencies, including the Sheriff’s Office. Elsewhere in Georgia, Atlanta was the victim of a ransomware attack in March 2018. However, unlike in Jackson County, Atlanta did not meet the ransom demand. That attack had a significant financial impact on the city.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.