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Fulton County, Ga., Cyber Attack Causing Major Outages

Currently, residents cannot get new marriage certificates, election offices are closed, property transactions cannot be processed and online court record systems are unavailable.

A hacking concept image of red exclamation mark over an infected network.
Shutterstock/Chor muang
Fulton County, Ga., is suffering a “major system outage” after a recent cybersecurity incident, one that is disrupting many public-facing services, county officials have announced.

Residents cannot get new marriage certificates. Election offices are closed. Property transactions cannot be processed and online court record systems are unavailable. The county hasn’t found evidence suggesting the event compromised personally identifiable information, although its investigation is still ongoing.

Still, at this moment many systems remain unavailable.

Phones are down at many county offices, with residents advised to email or visit to find alternate phone numbers and emails.

The county 911 systems remain operational, but police are impacted in other ways. The county police department cannot issue police reports, and the county sheriff’s office is reverting to paper-based methods for processing detainees. Courts have had to revert to backup processes to schedule hearings, while services like online court record and e-filing systems are down.

This all comes at a time when the county is handling a high-profile racketeering case against former President Trump. The district attorney’s office told Politico that the materials in that case were secure and untouched.

"All material related to the election case is kept in a separate, highly secure system that was not hacked and is designed to make any unauthorized access extremely difficult, if not impossible,” District Attorney Fani Willis’ office told Politico.

But the event has significantly disrupted the office generally. For one, loss of the e-filing system has “drastically” affected operations. And the district attorney's office typically gets most of its cases from the Atlanta Police Department, but amid this ongoing cyber incident, the police are avoiding sending or opening emails from the district attorney as a precaution.

fa red banner reading: "System Outage. Fulton County is experiencing an unexpected IT outage currently affecting multiple systems. To read more information on this outage, click here."
Screenshot of Fulton County website warning banner, Jan. 31, 2024

Another disruption is that Fulton County Probate Court offices are currently unable to issue new firearm permits or marriage certificates. But the offices could issue marriage licenses (the first step, before getting the certificate) and firearm permit renewals.

Other services are coming back, too. The Offices of the Superior and Magistrate Clerk at the North Fulton and South Fulton Service Centers are again able to provide notary commission and passport application services.

Plus, the downtown Atlanta Fulton County Tax Commissioner Office is expected to reopen today after initial closure. All offices will be able to process motor vehicle-related transactions, and the state tax department is granting a holiday to Fulton customers unable to get vehicle permits processed during the outage.

But the county tax commissioner office still won’t be able to process property tax transactions. The Fulton County Board of Assessors also cannot process property-related transactions, and its online property records remain unavailable. Additionally, the Boards of Equalization — citizen panels that hear property valuation appeals — are rescheduling some hearings.

Water service continues as normal, but residents cannot access online billing or payment. Libraries’ public computers are unavailable, but residents may access the online library catalog and platforms.

Finally, county elections offices are currently closed, although the Fulton County Elections Hub is continuing with logic and accuracy testing.