The computer network that handles governmental operations for the city of New Orleans was shut down Friday by a cyberattack, city officials say.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell signed a declaration of emergency for the city after a ransomware attack was detected by staffers at city hall Friday morning.
The perpetrators of the attack, who had not been identified, made no demands in conjunction with the attack, Cantrell said at a Friday afternoon press conference.
Among those services taken offline was the city’s website at nolo.gov.
911 service and computer-aided dispatch have not been affected by the attack, said New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Shaun Ferguson.
“The only difference between now and what we were doing yesterday is that we’re now documenting our reports manually,” he said. “Other than that, services remain the same, response times remain the same.”
Officials were working with cybersecurity experts from the Louisiana State Police, FBI, Louisiana National Guard, and United States Secret Service to perform a forensic and technical cyber-investigation into the attack, the mayor said.
Cantrell said that, to her knowledge, no city information was compromised in the incident. The attack was similar to a recent cyberattack that occurred on the state level, she said.
Suspicious activity in the form of phishing emails and other malware was initially detected at around 5 a.m. Friday, with increased activity detected at around 8 a.m., officials said. Officials determined between 11-11: 30 a.m. that the attack had compromised the network, at which point city hall employees were instructed over the building’s public address system to shut down and unplug their computers.
No city employee had reported clicking on malware to precipitate the attack, officials said, although authorities were still investigating how the attack occurred.
Collin Arnold, the city’s director of homeland security, said that the city was well-prepared for this kind of incident, as a result of recent hurricane disasters.
“We can operate without internet, without the city network,” he said. “It makes it obviously more difficult, but from a public safety standpoint … we’ve trained to do that, because of hurricane season.”