Galt Was Just Hit by Hackers. Here is What We Know.

On Tuesday, the City of Galt in Sacramento County confirmed that it had been the victim of a ransomware attack.

“In the early morning hours of December 16, 2019, ransomware hackers placed malware on the City of Galt’s computerized systems in order to take over those systems in pursuit of a ransom payment,” according to the statement.

Galt Interim City Manager Thomas Haglund described the attack as “an extreme inconvenience.”

KCRA has compiled a list of things we know about the attack.

The hack has affected every one of the city’s departments and damaged Galt’s email server. The wastewater treatment plant and the 911 center are all that is working. Calls to 911 will still go through.

As for how it was discovered, “a dispatcher at our police dispatch center received a message asking for permission for the IT director to be able to log on to her computer," Haglund told KCRW. The dispatcher denied the request and the screen went dark. An extortion plot quickly revealed itself. The message was clear: to get the systems back, Galt must pay.

Haglund said that the city has no intention of paying the ransom. Forensic experts are working to fix the system.

With Tuesday’s breach, Galt joins a growing list of local governments that have been hit by ransomware attacks. In October, the City of Lodi confirmed it had also been a victim of ransomware.


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