Hayward city service coming back online following ransomware attack

ByAnser Hassan KGO logo
Friday, July 28, 2023
Hayward city service coming back following ransomware attack
The computer network is coming back online in the city of Hayward following a ransomware attack.

HAYWARD, Calif. (KGO) -- The computer network is coming back online in the city of Hayward following a ransomware attack.

"From the standpoint of the general public, our systems are up and operational. Including most every system people use to transact business with the city of Hayward," says Chuck Finnie, communication and marketing manager for the city.

On July 9, the city detected a cyberattack. With two hours, it was able to shut down the city's computer network to assess what happened and how far it reached.

"We have not paid a ransom. We don't want to get into about knowledge of the identity of the folks involved," says Finnie.

RELATED: Ransomware attack hits Hayward; city claims, so far, personal data is safe

A declaration of emergency, which was passed on July 18, is still in place. The majority of city services have been restored, except for some library services and resident still can't pay the water bill online.

The city's Computer Aided Dispatch system, known as CAD, was also taken out of service. It's used by the police and fire departments. The city acknowledges that some systems used by police and fire are still down.

"CAD is running. We are responding to calls. We do have access to all of the data that is available to law enforcement. And so, that is kind of where it stands," explains Finnie.

"Rule number one in cybersecurity, is to consider the network security or cybersecurity as an investment, not an expense," says San Jose State University Professor Ahmed Banafa, who is a tech expert.

Bafana says it is hard to predict why Hayward was targeted. But he says how quickly the city was able to get back online demonstrates what went right: that the city was prepared, its system was designed for the worst case scenario, and that it likely had a strong backup system.

RELATED: City of Hayward declares local emergency after ransomware attack

"The whole two weeks is not just restore of service. The whole two weeks is to test, to make sure we are not restoring the virus again to the system," says Banafa, referring to the amount of time the system has been offline.

Professor Banafa says since 2018, just in the United States, cybersecurity losses have cost government entities, like cities, $70 billion, $8 billion for hospitals and $3.5 billion for schools.

He adds, though there may not have been any data breaches in the Hayward hack, residents who do business with the city should notify their financial institutions and monitor activity.

And, for other Bay Area cities to learn from what Hayward did.

"This kind of attack and the reaction to this kind of attack, is really a warning signal to every city in the United States, telling that you are not safe," says Banafa.

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