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Ransomware Attack Pushes City of Oakland Into State of Emergency

The city of Oakland, California issued a local state of emergency as a result of the impacts from a ransomware attack.

The city of Oakland, California issued a local state of emergency late Tuesday as a result of the ongoing impact following a ransomware attack that first hit city IT systems on Wednesday, February 8.

According to an update, the city “continues to experience a network outage that has left several non-emergency systems including phone lines within the City of Oakland impacted or offline.”

City officials say the declaration of a local state of emergency (PDF) allows Oakland to expedite the procurement of equipment and materials, activate emergency workers if needed, and issue orders on an expedited basis to help restore systems and bring services back online.

While voicemail and other non-emergency services were disrupted or taken offline, no critical or emergency services such as 911 and fire departments have been impacted.

City officials have not provided any details on the type of ransomware used, any monetary amounts related to a ransom demand, nor did they say whether the incident has resulted in any data theft.

Ransomware attacks targeting US cities and counties are not new. Over the past several years, numerous ransomware attacks against cities and countries have led to critical services being shut down and have also impacted election systems and school districts.

While some cities paid the ransom – including Florence City, Lake City, and Riviera Beach City – others chose not to pay, in some cases with disastrous results. The City of Atlanta, which refused to pay a $51,000 ransom, spent millions to recover the impacted systems.

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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