Why This City's Workers All Turned Off Their Computers

State of emergency declared in New Orleans after cyberattack
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2019 7:45 AM CST
State of Emergency in the Big Easy After Cyberattack
Stock photo of New Orleans.   (Getty Images/f11photo)

New Orleans got an unwelcome surprise on Friday the 13th, starting before the sun came up, and it has prompted a state of emergency. At a presser, the city's chief information officer said that "suspicious activity" and phishing attempts were detected on the city's network around 5am, and six hours later, it had been declared a "cybersecurity incident," per CNN. Just to be safe, the city's IT team told all city employees to turn their computers off (servers were also powered down), log off of WiFi, and unplug any devices, Forbes reports. The city confirmed no information was compromised, WDSU reports; the city's 911 system also wasn't affected.

During the presser, Mayor LaToya Cantrell confirmed the breach had been a ransomware attack, though no ransom has been requested. Per NOLA Ready, the city's emergency preparedness group, a state of emergency was filed. Forbes notes that the state of Louisiana was targeted in a ransomware attack in November, and that a state of emergency was declared in July when school district computers in the state were hit with a similar attack. NOLA notes that the city is investigating the incident with the assistance of, among others, the Louisiana National Guard, Louisiana State Police, FBI, and Secret Service. (More New Orleans stories.)

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