New Orleans Struck by Cyberattack, City Declares State Of Emergency

On Friday, December 13, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell declared a state of emergency for the city after a cyberattack was detected around 11 a.m. 

The incident began at around 5 a.m. when NOLA Ready – New Orleans’ emergency preparedness campaign – confirmed “suspicious activity…on the City’s network” and a “cybersecurity incident” by the time 11 a.m. rolled around. Once the threat was established, New Orleans’ IT department issued a shutdown of all employee devices and disconnection from Wi-Fi. Servers were also ordered to be powered down following the attack. Emergency response lines were still open to take calls, however. 

The City of New Orleans declared a state of emergency shortly after the cyberattack was detected. A press conference was held the Friday of the incident, in which Mayor LaToya Cantrell confirmed that a cyberattack was responsible for the unusual network activity. Officials stated how no data was lost after the attack and that there is still no indication that passwords were compromised. Chief Information Officer Kim LaGrue confirmed that phishing emails had been sent to employees that asked for their login information while the attack went underway. There was also evidence of ransomware – specifically the Ryuk strain – as cause for the cyberattack. 

Mayor Cantrell did later affirm that ransomware was behind the attack, but investigations are still ongoing to verify if Ryuk was indeed involved according to the press conference held Monday, the 16th. 

It’s always important to take precautionary steps in making sure you’re prepared for an impending cyberattack. Some cybersecurity steps you can take include:

-Backing up all your data

-Being mindful of what email links and attachments you click on

-Patching software vulnerabilities

-Using strong passwords and activating two-factor authentication for your accounts

Ransomware Attack Hits UK Police Federation

Just announced yesterday, the U.K. Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) survey headquarters had been hit with a cyberattack – the ransomware encrypting computer email systems and databases and deleting backup data.

The attack occurred on March 9 and affected this headquarters solely – consisting of approximately 119,000 police officers – as a statement provided by the Federation revealed how 43 branches spread throughout the U.K. and Wales were not affected.

In a tweet yesterday morning, the Police Federation explains how “[t]here is no evidence at this stage that any data was extracted from our systems but this cannot be discounted.”

Officers of the National Cyber Crime Unit have begun their investigation and are in contact with PFEW to determine the nature of the attack and the extent of damage. According to the PFEW, the attack was likely done as part of a much larger campaign set to cause further havoc.

The incident was reported to the data protection regulator in the U.K. within three days as part of European ordinance, although the PFEW announced the attack 12 days after it first occurred.