Atlanta courthouse

The Elbert P. Tuttle Courthouse in Atlanta, GA.

The Georgia website that was taken offline following a malware attack is now active., the website for the Administrative Office of the Courts, was relaunched Friday night, six days after malicious software was discovered on the courts' servers. Some virtual services were still unavailable as of Monday evening.

“We are aware that some services remain offline, but we are working towards fully restoring all services as soon as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience,” a message on the website that greeted visitors says.

Georgia’s Administrative Office is the latest victim in cyber breaches called ransomware attacks. The hackers take control of an organization’s server and demand money to release it. State and federal agencies have been working since June 29 to recovery Georgia’s court system server. Many of the courts’ processes had to regress to paperwork. 

It is still unclear when the entire website will be functional.

One of the services still unavailable is the Child Support Calculator.  The tool, provided by the Georgia Child Support Commission, helps parents determine the amount of child support that they will receive or have to pay under Georgia law. It does not stall the child support process. 

The Administrative Office has created an alternative method for creating the worksheet. The derailed tool delays the calculation by a matter of minutes. 

To obtain the document, parents would have to email the office directly and work out the numbers on the document while the active tool allows input of the information online and automatically generates the numbers.

The welcoming message on the courts’ website also informed visitors that authentication may be required to obtain some of the site’s features.

Administrative Office spokesperson Aimee Maxwell said that the office plans to beef up security in order to prevent future attacks.

“We are working with cybersecurity experts to secure our network while we are in the recovery phase and to implement additional security going forward,” Maxwell said.

Bruce Shaw, communications and outreach specialist for the office, said Monday that he could not report as yet how much the hacking will cost the courts, but they are keeping track of expenses.

 The Georgia Administrative Office escaped the ransom threat by discovering the attack early during a routine security assessment. It went into triage mode. The office cut the server off and started wiping out the network. The hack or hackers were not paid a ransom, according to Shaw.

Last year, Atlanta spent $2.6 million to recover from a $52,000 ransomware threat. The attack held five of the city's 13 local government departments hostage. Last month, malware attacks in two Florida cities led to ransom payments for a total of more than a million dollars in Bitcoin, an untraceable currency.

Staff Writer

Nyamekye Daniel has been a journalist for three years. She was the managing editor for the South Florida Media Network and a staff writer for The Miami Times. Daniel's work has also appeared in the Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald and The New York Times.