City of Oakland systems only 85% back online 2 months into ransomware attack, Mayor Thao confirms

ByLena Howland KGO logo
Wednesday, April 5, 2023
Oakland systems 85% back online 2 months into ransomware attack: mayor
Mayor Sheng Thao says City of Oakland systems are only 85% back online 2 months into ransomware attack.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- For the first time in three years, Oakland's City Hall has reopened, and that means, more people are returning to in-person work in the downtown area since the start of the pandemic.

"This is the beginning of a new era of a new change," said Mayor Sheng Thao.

Thao celebrated the return of these workers with a downtown activation event called "Welcome Back Wednesday."

"It's just fun to meet people, and I think a lot of us are meeting each other for the first time too," said Lakshmi Rajagopalan.

RELATED: Oakland police union says Mayor Thao is 'stonewalling' crucial info about ransomware attack

The Oakland police union has accused Mayor Sheng Thao of stonewalling their attempts to get update on the scope of the ransomware attack.

But this comes nearly two months into a ransomware attack, which has put at least 4,300 current city employees and possibly thousands of former employees, at risk of being hacked.

Wednesday, ABC7 learned the last drop of data -- which happened just in the past couple of days -- was much bigger than previous dumps, according to Mayor Sheng Thao.

"We are understanding this is a larger amount of data that was dropped into the black web, and we are still going through what has actually been taken and dropped onto the black web," Thao said. "As you know, it takes time to download, and so we're waiting for the full downloading of all of this information."

Still, many city workers say they'd like to see more transparency about the situation from the city's elected officials.

RELATED: Oakland ransomware attack: Leaked data has more than 3.1K views on dark web

After Oakland was targeted with a ransomware attack by group "Play," the stolen data has more than 3,100 views on the dark web as of Thursday evening.

"It's a really big thing, and I think it's really affected a lot of people's personal life in ways that, like being a city employee, you wouldn't expect. So I think for me, there could always be more communication, transparency and action," Khalilha Haynes, a City of Oakland employee said.

Thao said as of Wednesday, the city's systems are only 85% back online.

Meanwhile, the city has been notifying employees who may have been compromised and offering a free one-year credit check to city staff.

"I'm equally upset, and obviously what is put out to the dark web cannot be taken back. I'm frustrated -- my information is out there as well too -- and so what we're going to do is, we have to be proactive," Thao said.

RELATED: Social security, bank info of Oakland employees, businesses may be compromised in ransomware leak

Thao says with ongoing budget talks, they're looking at further investing in the city's IT systems to ensure this doesn't happen again.

This is something City Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas says she's already on board with.

"It's been a high priority, certainly as we go into our budget, I personally will make sure we're investing," Fortunato Bas said. "In our '21 cycle, I added over $3 million to our budget, for a chief security officer and to really make sure our systems are as up to date as possible and we're going to keep doing that."

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