The US city of Oakland has suffered a ransomware attack that forced its government body to take some of its systems offline as it assesses the damage and builds a recovery plan.
In a short Twitter thread, the city said that the attack did not affect core services, such as 911 or firefighters. However, delays in other services should be expected.
Oakland's Information Technology Department (ITD) is involved, as are local law enforcement agencies, investigating the attack and working on restoring the impacted services, the tweets read.
"The Information Technology Department is coordinating with law enforcement and actively investigating the scope and severity of the issue. Our core functions are intact. 911, financial data, and fire and emergency resources are not impacted," it said.
The government body is also working on a response plan that is in line with industry standards. It plans to share more information as it becomes available, it was added.
"In the meantime, the public should expect delays from the City as a result. We are actively monitoring the situation and sending updated information as it becomes available.”
At press time, a number of key other details still aren't known, including who was behind the attack, which endpoints were compromised, or how they were affected. It's also not known if any ransom demands were already made, and how much money the attackers are demanding in exchange for the decryption key.
Public sector organizations are a popular target for ransomware operators, so the attack on the City of Oakland should not come as a surprise. In early January, cybersecurity experts Emsisoft published a report stating that last year more than 200 large public sector organizations in the US were impacted by ransomware.
Besides the government, threat actors are also going after the education and healthcare industries. In about half of the discovered incidents, the threat actors made away with sensitive data.
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Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.