Cyberattack on New Orleans city computers called ‘minimal’

Nation & World News

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Officials announced Saturday that no data was held for ransom and that a recovery operation is getting underway after a cyberattack a day earlier triggered a shutdown of city government computers in New Orleans.

Chief Information Officer Kim LaGrue, speaking at a news conference with Mayor LaToya Cantrell and others, said the city hadn’t heard from any hackers or received any demands.

NOLA.com reportedthat LaGrue described the cyberattack as “minimal” and that officials expect to move quickly to bring computers fully back online.

The exact nature and extent of the attack were unclear, NOLA.com reported. It added that the mayor said about 4,000 computers will need to be scrubbed as a precaution and that 400 servers were affected.

Crucial public safety services continued running normally Saturday as they did during Friday’s cyberattack, officials stressed. But City Hall offices had to fall back Friday on pen and paper to keep doing business as computers were taken offline and certain offices closed.

The city’s website was down in what officials described as a precautionary move after Friday’s cyberattack. Officials, meanwhile, had posted news of the shutdown on social media.

“Out of an abundance of caution, all employees were immediately alerted to power down computers, unplug devices & disconnect from WiFi,” the city said Friday on its NOLA Ready Facebook page.

Officials had stressed that city financial records are backed up through a cloud-based system.

LaGrue said Saturday that authorities were now moving into recovery.

“We’re looking to provide more information about city services and how quickly we can bring them back online very soon,” LaGrue said, without elaborating.

The cyberattack was the second in a matter of days: One was reported in the city of Pensacola, Florida, last week. The Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicle operations also was hobbled by a cyberattack in mid-November.

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