Ladies and gentlemen, we interrupt our program to bring you a special bulletin: The city of Atlanta has been struck by intelligences greater than man’s. No, it’s not science fiction.
In fact, based on the paltry media coverage the incident has garnered, it doesn’t even seem to be all that sensational. But, nearly a week after a group of hackers led a ransomware attack on Atlanta, city government officials are still unable to use their computers.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told the press, “We are dealing with a hostage situation.” The hackers, who have not been publicly identified, have demanded a $51,000 ransom in bitcoin. When asked if the city is willing to pay the ransom, Mayor Keisha said, “Everything is up for discussion.”
The cyber attack on Atlanta, with a metro area population of roughly 6 million people, follows similar city-wide attacks, like last year’s cyber attack on Dallas, which triggered tornado sirens throughout the city. Cyber attacks have affected Japan, Israel and Canada.
Martians could land in the middle of Times Square and nobody would even notice.
In an increasingly technology-dependent world, the stakes are getting higher by the minute. For most of us, the threat is identity theft, and it doubtlessly is a problem. But the threat of cyberattacks on cities and nations often seems underplayed.
It would appear that a real-life War of the Worlds–type invasion would pass by as one more story in our inundated newsfeeds. At this point, Martians could land in the middle of Times Square and nobody would even notice.