DUNWOODY, Ga. — At a Jan. 27 meeting, the Dunwoody City Council amended a contract with the city’s IT provider to cover costs related to a Christmas Eve cyberattack.

On Dec. 24, 2019, the city’s IT provider, InterDev, received an alert of an issue with Dunwoody’s system. The InterDev team in conjunction with city police and staff responded quickly to the ransomware attack, limiting its damage, the city reported.

“As soon as we detected a problem, we took immediate steps to protect the city’s infrastructure,” said Ashley Smith, InterDev director of Government Services. “Data back-ups were used to fully restore systems with no loss.”

During the attack, InterDev had to make emergency purchase of equipment and services, according to city staff reports. The city staff reviewed each purchase and identified $79,853 in additional costs.

“InterDev, due to expediency’s sake, had to acquire some goods and some services and also produces some actions out of the scope of the contract,” Assistant City Manager Jay Vinicki said.

Vinicki said the expenses include monitoring services and upgrades to the city’s laptops and PCs, which should make them safer from attacks in the future.

“Unfortunately it’s not a matter of if this [cyberattacks] happen to your government, it’s a matter of when,” Mayor Lynn Deutsch said. “Part of that is because of the transparency of governments … The way governments are handling this is evolving very rapidly.”

The staff requested to increase InterDev’s contract by $125,000 to cover the emergency purchases and any unforeseen issues. The staff plans to pay for the increase with the rollover fund balance or by reducing costs later in the fiscal year. The council unanimously approved the city staff’s recommendation.

Dunwoody’s contract with InterDev is a five-year contract with a $3.8 million total price tag.

The city of Dunwoody previously reported it is working with the FBI to investigate the cyberattack.

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