City of Knoxville faced with ransomware attack

City officials working with law enforcement to address the breach

hacking and ransomware

The city of Knoxville, Tennessee shut down a large portion of its computer network after being hit by a ransomware attack on Thursday.

The attack was first discovered by members of the Knoxville Fire Department at 4:30 a.m. Shortly after the attack was detected, Knoxville chief operations officer, David Brace, notified employees of the breach in an email. City officials believe but have yet to confirm, the attack was launched when a city employee opened a phishing email

Advertisement - Article continues below

“Please be advised that our network has been attacked with ransomware,” Brace told employees. “Information Systems is currently following recommend[ed] protocols. This includes shutting down servers, our internet connections and PC’s. Please do not log in to the network or use computer applications at this time.”

The city’s website was unreachable earlier in the day. By evening, access to the site was restored after city employees moved it to a temporary domain. The fire and police departments operated as normal, per officials, although police were unable to respond to minor traffic accident reports.

According to Brace, the city has received a ransom demand. Though Brace has so far declined to reveal the amount, he says forensic analysts and risk management consultants are working with law enforcement to resolve the breach. The attack has also been reported to the FBI and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. At this time, Brace says there’s no evidence of financial or personally identifiable information being accessed during the breach. 

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

While city servers were affected during the breach, city IT officials believe the threat has been isolated. Brace added that no backup servers were affected and much of the city’s work could be rerouted through them. Meanwhile, Knox County said on Twitter it had no evidence of its systems being affected as a result of the Knoxville breach.

Knoxville isn’t the first city to be hit by a ransomware attack. Brett Callow, a researcher at security firm Emsisoft, found 113 state and municipal government agencies were infected by ransomware in 2019.

Featured Resources

Preparing for long-term remote working after COVID-19

Learn how to safely and securely enable your remote workforce

Download now

Cloud vs on-premise storage: What’s right for you?

Key considerations driving document storage decisions for businesses

Download now

Staying ahead of the game in the world of data

Create successful marketing campaigns by understanding your customers better

Download now

Transforming productivity

Solutions that facilitate work at full speed

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/security/29204/how-can-you-protect-your-business-from-crypto-ransomware
Security

How can you protect your business from crypto-ransomware?

4 Nov 2019
Visit/security/ethical-hacking/356252/poorly-secured-banking-apps-lead-to-cyber-threats
ethical hacking

Mobile banking apps are exposing user data to attackers

26 Jun 2020
Visit/security/malware/356231/most-malware-came-through-https-connections-in-q1-2020
malware

Most malware came through HTTPS connections in Q1 2020

25 Jun 2020
Visit/security/phishing/356211/phishing-attacks-target-unsuspecting-wells-fargo-customers
phishing

Phishing attacks target unsuspecting Wells Fargo customers

24 Jun 2020

Most Popular

Visit/business/business-operations/356395/nvidia-overtakes-intel-as-most-valuable-us-chipmaker
Business operations

Nvidia overtakes Intel as most valuable US chipmaker

9 Jul 2020
Visit/laptops/29190/how-to-find-ram-speed-size-and-type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

24 Jun 2020
Visit/hardware/components/356405/is-it-time-to-put-intel-outside
components

Is it time to put Intel Outside?

10 Jul 2020