City of Oakland declares state of emergency in wake of ransomware attack
The city government of Oakland, California was hit by a ransomware attack on February 8th, and its departments can still feel the security breach’s ramifications. While the local government didn’t give out details about the incident, such as how much money the bad actors are demanding, it said in an announcement that the city had to take its network offline to contain the attack. That has rendered many of Oakland’s non-emergency services inaccessible, such as websites that would allow residents to pay parking fines or taxes online. The city’s systems meant for processing reports and issuing permits or licenses are offline, as well.
While Oakland previously assured residents that 911 dispatch and fire emergency services weren’t affected by the breach, its police department warned people that the attack has delayed response times. It’s now encouraging people to file reports online for non-emergency complaints. Oakland also had to close some of its buildings and is now asking people to email government offices’ service counters before coming to visit.
However, it warns of delayed response times while it works “around the clock to implement recovery plans that will restore impacted systems as quickly and as securely as possible.” According to the San Francisco Chronicle, residents are also having difficulties reaching city departments by phone and are being redirected to recorded messages, most likely due to an influx of calls.
On February 14th, local Oakland officials declared state of emergency in an effort to combat the effects of the attack. Doing so allows them to expedite the purchase of equipment and materials needed to get government services running as usual, as well as to deploy emergency workers if needed. Although details surrounding the attack remain unclear, the city’s Information Technology Department is currently working with law enforcement and a leading forensics firm to investigate the scope and severity of the issue. “This continues to be an ongoing investigation with multiple local, state, and federal agencies involved,” Oakland said in an announcement, along with the promise to keep the public updated if it has more details to share.
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