Two California cities hit with ransomware in two days, police forced to patrol using handheld radios

The cities of Oakland and Modesto, California are attacked by ransomware this week, shutting down government services and forcing “old school policing” in one city.

Two city governments in California - Oakland and Modesto - were knocked offline in simultaneous ransomware attacks this week, forcing police in one city to fall back on “old school policing,” including the use of handheld radios, pens, and paper during patrols.

Oakland officials have confirmed a ransomware attack on municipal networks.

Government officials, posted a statement on the city’s website Friday after rumors starting swirling on social media about certain city services not working.

“The City of Oakland has learned that it was recently subject to a ransomware attack that began on Wednesday night. The Information Technology Department is coordinating with law enforcement and actively investigating the scope and severity of the issue. Our core functions are intact. 911, financial data, and fire and emergency resources are not impacted.” the statement read.

As a precautionary measure, all affected city services were taken offline while investigators and security experts work to restore the system.

“The public should expect delays from the City as a result. We are actively monitoring the situation and sending updated information as it becomes available” stated Oakland officials.

Meanwhile, the Modesto hack forced their local police department to revert to using handheld radios, pens, and paper while patrolling the city, as first reported by McClatchy news organization.

Apparently the police computer outage has been going on for a number of days causing the department to embrace “old school policing,” reported one anonymous source.

Modesto is “experiencing limited connectivity to some systems. Our ability to facilitate city services including emergency service and answer 911 calls is fully operational,” according to a statement by Modesto officials Thursday.

A ransomware attack has not been publicly confirmed, but Modesto officials did verify they had detected “suspicious activity” within its networks.

“Upon learning of this suspicious activity, we strategically disconnected portions of our network out of an abundance of caution. We have also initiated an investigation with leading cyber security experts,” officials stated.

The two cities are located roughly an hour and half apart.