Oakland ransomware attack: Here's a look at how other cities solved their cyberattacks

ByRyan Curry KGO logo
Tuesday, February 21, 2023
Here's a look at how other cities solved their ransomware attacks
As Oakland is still dealing with a ransomware attack, officials with some of the other cities hit say it as a long and expensive process.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- It has been over a week since Oakland announced it was hit with a ransomware attack. Many city services are shutdown, and some buildings are closed.

Ransomware attacks have been hitting multiple U.S. cities over the last few years. Officials with some of the cities hit with ransomware remember it as a long and expensive process.

"We started to notice actions or access towards privileged accounts," said Kimberly LaGrue, information officer with the City of New Orleans. "We noticed something was not right and eventually we were without any city services and the city fell back on manual processes."

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New Orleans was hit with ransomware in late 2019. LaGrue says it took the city 10 days to some of their computers running again, and a full 20 days to get everything restored.

"Our best course was to sanitize as much of our data as we could," LaGrue said. "Recover from clean back ups and rebuild our environment on clean PCs."

That ended up costing the city a lot of money. LaGrue says it ended up costing New Orleans over $5 million. She says, in today's tech world, a cyberattack can happen to anyone. A neighboring city to the east echoed those same words.

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"We all came in a lot of our computers had signs on them that said don't turn on until you consult with IT," said Kaycee LaGarde, information officer with the City of Pensacola. "Some of the online bill pay systems that we have, and our email services and just our website things like that were down."

She says it costed Pensacola around $400,000 to repair everything. Pensacola hired an outside tech firm to help them overcome the issue. Both city officials say they did not pay the ransom or even consult with the hackers. City officials with both New Orleans and Pensacola say they invested more into cyber security following the attacks.

"You can never be too careful right?" LaGrue said. "I sleep a little better knowing we are constantly making those investments."

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