City of New Orleans offline after ransomware cyber attack

Updated: Dec. 13, 2019 at 9:46 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The City of New Orleans is offline after a cyber attack. That ransomware attack comes just weeks after a similar attack on state government.

The City’s IT department says it first noticed suspicious activity around 5 Friday morning. But, Mayor Latoya Cantrell says so far the city is not aware of a ransom being demanded. Cantrell also doesn’t believe any city information has been compromised.

The City’s servers and computers are now powered down but we’re told emergency services have not been impacted. Police and fire personnel are using radios to communicate. The City’s Director of Homeland Security, Collin Arnold says past disasters have prepared New Orleans to operate offline.

“If there is a positive about being a city that has been touched by disasters you know and essentially brought down to zero in the past is that our plans from the public safety perspective reflect the fact that we can operate without internet and without city network,” said Arnold.

Chief Information Officer Kim Lagrue spoke during the Dec. 14 press conference.

“Our recovery process means we take in a new, a clean structure and we load information into that clean structure,” Lagrue said.

“When we look at how the access might have been permeated or how our environment might have been permeated it was through a compromise of credentials that belong to city employees,” Lagrue stated.

No data was held for ransom.

According to Lagrue, they have not heard from any hackers making demands on the information.

She described the attack as “minimal” and said officials expect to move quickly to bring the system fully back online.

Officials say 4,000 computers have to be scrubbed as a precaution.

The City says because computers are down they’re having to go old school and take care of city business by phone. If you have a city service that you need to address you can call the below specific agencies:

311 for issues related to the Department of Safety and Permits

504-658-7130 for building inspections and general questions

504-658-7145 for the electric department

504-658-7153 for the mechanical department.

504-658-7170 for ground transportation needs.

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