Georgia county’s experience shows perils of ransomware

JEFFERSON, Ga. (AP) — Around the country, ransomware attacks have crippled critical computer systems that law enforcement rely on to stay safe or alert them to emergencies.

Staff members at the jail in one Georgia county were unable to open cell doors automatically after a ransomware incursion in March. And dispatchers at the county’s 911 center lost the computers that tell them who is available to respond to emergencies and where they are located.

Jackson County officials say they are not aware of any delays that threatened public safety or lives.

But details of that attack show how ransomware can make law enforcement officers more vulnerable and potentially hinder emergency responses.

Ransomware renders files inaccessible unless a computer user pays thieves to release them.

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