City of Savannah data not compromised after recent malware attack

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The City of Savannah says no city data was compromised after a recent malware attack.

The city discovered the virus on Friday, Feb. 9, and believes it was caused by an email phishing scheme.

WTOC visited Georgia Southern University's Center for Applied Cyber Education at Armstrong Campus to learn more about malware attacks.

"It can be an item, like an email or word document. An actor will attach a particular coding," Scott Scheidt, Executive Director for the Center for Applied Cyber Education, said.

Scheidt says once a user opens the email or attachment with the specific coding, a malware virus can do all sorts of damage.

The city says the attack didn't impact public safety or affect the 911 Center. The city also says it took certain precautions like temporarily shutting down several computer systems to make sure the virus didn't spread.

"You may not get a lot of breach or loss of data or activity because the system is structured so well," Scheidt said.

Scheidt says malware attacks have been known to hit single homes to entire countries, so you should never put your guard down when it comes to securing your networks.

"The best things are always making sure you have a good Firewall set up on your home network and make sure everything is protected with passwords," he said.

Scheidt says don't click on any emails or attachments that look suspicious and be aware of others trying to connect to your network.

"Even with friends and family coming in, if you have people connecting regularly to your network, they could be bringing things in," Scheidt said.

Also, download an appropriate virus scanner for your computer and smartphone.

"Those will help increase security beyond just the home computer that people aren't used to," Scheidt says.

As for the City of Savannah, crews will be looking at each individual computer. They'll also be working to find the source of this malware attack.

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