The city of Oakland, Calif., was hit by a ransomware attack on Feb. 8, which prompted officials to take their network offline in order to prevent important data from being leaked. This left several nonemergency services impacted or shut down to quarantine the threat for over a full week. Vital services like 9-11, the fire department, and financial services are still operational.
“Please continue to call 911 for emergencies. Our Police and Fire Departments continue to actively respond to emergency calls. If you would like to make a police report but it isn’t an emergency, we ask that you please file a report online,” the city said in its most recent update.
However, the services that were shut down have greatly hindered the city’s ability to function properly. This has led to numerous people having problems collecting payments, processing reports, and issuing permits and licenses.
After the network shut down, Interim City Administrator G. Harold Duffey, declared a state of emergency to help address the situation.
While frightening sounding, being in a state of emergency allows the city to move resources more quickly and efficiently. In its frequent updates, the city assures that it’s working tirelessly to fix these issues.
“The declaration of a local emergency allows the City of Oakland to expedite the procurement of equipment and materials, activate emergency workers if needed, and issue orders on an expedited basis, while we work to safely restore systems and bring our services back online.”
The city is currently working alongside multiple local, state, and federal agencies as well as cybersecurity experts to recover data from the ransomware attacks. It’s still unknown who the hackers behind the ransomware were or what their demands were, though investigations are underway.