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article imageNew Orleans under 'State of Emergency' after cyberattack

By Karen Graham     Dec 14, 2019 in Internet
New Orleans - The city of New Orleans declared a state of emergency after an attempted cyber-attack on Friday, officials announced on Twitter Friday evening. Just days before this attack, Pensacola, Florida computers were attacked by a ransomware virus.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell (D) declared a state of emergency on Friday after a "cybersecurity" incident was discovered, according to the Associated Press.
At a press conference on Friday, New Orleans Chief Information Officer Kim LaGrue said her department detected suspicious activity on their network at about 5 a.m. on Friday, and this led to a more comprehensive investigation of the computers on their network.
By 11 a.m. the unusual activity had picked up to the point, the city had fully activated their emergency operations center. City employees were instructed to power down computers, unplug devices from the wall, and take down all servers as a precaution. The Nola.gov website also went down, according to the New York Post.
The NOLA.gov website is usually reserved for hurricane preparedness information but on Friday, five messages were posted warning of “suspicious activity” on city networks and later informing residents that the city had “activated its Emergency Operations Center.”
CNBC is reporting that one of the tweets said the city is working with “cybersecurity resources” from the FBI, Secret Service and National Guard. Emergency services like 911 and the fire department were still up and running. This latest cyberattack follows two previous attacks this year in Louisiana, one in July, and another in November.
The two earlier ransomware attacks crippled phones and attacked encrypted data at school districts and the governor’s office as well the Medicare system and Department of Motor Vehicles, among other agencies. Governor John Bel Edwards had to declare a state of emergency in both cases.
On December 9, just one day after a gunman killed three sailors on its Navy base, city computers in Pensacola, Florida were attacked by a ransomware virus. The hackers are asking for $1 million. There is one big problem, though.
The city is not insured against cyber-attacks and was still deciding on Friday whether or not to pay the $1 million, reports the New York Post.
These attacks are not new. In May, a cyberattack hit Baltimore, Maryland and cost the city millions of dollars to repair after it refused to hand over $76,000 in ransom.
More about New orleans, Cyberattack, states of emergency, Ransomware, Cybercriminals
 
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