New Orleans Cyber Attack: Mayor LaToya Cantrell declared a state of emergency after New Orleans was rocked by a major cybersecurity attack.
The attack began around 5 a.m. CST on Friday, December 13, according to the City of New Orleans’ disaster preparedness campaign, NOLA Ready,
Which is sponsored by the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
As investigations progressed, “suspicious behaviour was discovered on the City’s network,” according to NOLA Ready, and “activity indicating a cybersecurity problem was noticed at 11 a.m.”
According to the NOLA tweet, the city’s IT department issued an order for all employees to turn down computers and unplug from Wi-Fi as a precaution.
All city servers were shut down, and employees were told to unplug any devices they might have.
A state of emergency has been issued in New Orleans.
During a press conference, Mayor Cantrell confirmed that the intrusion was a ransomware attack. A declaration of state of emergency was filed with the Civil District Court in connection with the incident.
According to NOLA Ready, emergency communications were untouched.
Even though the “Real-Time Crime Center” was turned off, public safety cameras continued to record and incident footage would be available if needed.
The police and fire departments went about their work as usual, and the capacity to respond to 911 calls was unaffected.
While the investigation and recovery procedure, which involves both state and federal authorities, are ongoing, information is still scarce.
The sort of ransomware malware used in the attack is unknown, and no ransom demand has been issued as of yet, according to Mayor Cantrell.
On October 2, the FBI issued a high-impact cyber-attack notice in response to attacks on state and local government targets.
This foreshadowed attacks on health-care organizations, industrial enterprises, and the transportation industry. Attacks on government targets, however, continue unabated.
Ransomware attacks against government targets
A ransomware attack has attacked New Orleans, following one that hit the state of Louisiana in November.
In July, Louisiana school district computers were taken offline and a state of emergency was proclaimed in response to a ransomware attack. It’s not apparent if the two instances are connected.
A cyber-attack on the state of Texas, on the other hand, knocked out 23 government functions in August.
This indicates that ransomware threat actors are concentrating their efforts in the United States.
“State and local government is woefully vulnerable to phishing-led hacking,” said Colin Bastable, CEO of security awareness training company Lucy Security.
“This is primarily because CISOs focus on technological defences when they should also be patching their colleagues with regular simulated ransomware attacks and security awareness training.”
“The problem with ransomware attacks is that they aren’t always visible,” Bastable said, “and the attack could go undetected for a long time before being triggered.”
The New Orleans strike may have begun “in association with the current Louisiana incident,” according to Bastable.