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New Orleans city computers taken offline following major cyberattack

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Following an apparent cyberattack, New Orleans city employees were told to shut down their computers over the weekend as a precaution.

While the amount of damage caused by the attack is still unclear, city officials have revealed that there is no evidence that user passwords or data were stolen.

According to the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness, the NOLA.gov website remained down for “unplanned maintenance” on Sunday but emergency services such as 911 and the fire department were still operational. The FBI and Secret Service are also assisting with the investigation.

New Orleans cyberattack

New Orleans' emergency preparedness campaign NOLA Ready provided more details on the incident in a post on Twitter, which reads:

"Out of an abundance of caution, all employees were immediately alerted to power down computers, unplug devices & disconnect from WiFi. All servers have been powered down as well." 

As of now, it is still unclear as to whether or not a ransomware attack was responsible for the city of New Orleans having to take its systems offline but will likely learn more once the investigation into the matter is complete.

CEO and co-founder of Cyware Labs, Anuj Goel explained how sharing threat intelligence can help prevent attacks like this in the future, saying:

“Ransomware attacks on local governments have witnessed a worrying upward trend this year with the attack on the City of New Orleans being the latest example. What were the security loopholes that lead to a large-scale attack? How did the threat actors manage to spread across the entire state network? What can the local government do to prevent such attacks in the future? These are all critical questions that need to be answered in the wake of such a cyberattack. Threat intelligence sharing can empower governments in completely thwarting or preventing the spread of such attacks by helping them predict and proactively block such attacks. In case one succeeds, they could contain it within no time by automating intel actioning with zero or negligible operational downtime.” 

Via CNET