City of Oakland still struggling from two week old ransomware attack, calls in CA Gov and National Guard

The City of Oakland, California is still struggling from the aftereffects of a two-week-old ransomware attack that crippled city services. City officials have now turned to the Governor's office and the California National Guard for help, although some services have been restored.

Here’s a Cybernews update on a story we’ve been following from the beginning about the City of Oakland being hit by a ransomware attack more than 17 days ago – and the city painstakingly trying to get municipal services back online for residents.

City officials have now called in IT specialist teams from both the California State National Guard and the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) to help with recovery efforts.

Officials were forced to declare a local state of emergency on February 14, roughly one week after the initial attack began on February 8.

The emergency declaration allowed the city to “expedite the procurement of equipment and materials, activate emergency workers if needed,” stated administrators.

The city publicly had to finally acknowledge the hack by Friday, after city residents began complaining about services being shut down on social media.

Officials in charge put out a fresh statement on the recovery progress assuring constituents that the city is tirelessly working "to secure and restore services safely.”

Oakland website ransomware3
Official Website for the City of Oakland

Earlier this week, the city announced access to internet and wifi was restored in municipal offices and the library, as well as access to public computers and scanning, printing, and copying.

Critical public safety services were also restored, according to the city updates.

“The City’s IT Department and leading cybersecurity and forensic teams continue working around the clock to test and recover impacted systems. Thanks to their efforts, we are pleased to share that a lot of progress has been made over the last few days to restore the network and critical public safety and financial systems,” the web update stated.

“We continue working on a phased approach to bring public facing systems like our business tax, permitting, contracting and work order back online,” administrators stated.

Key services that have remained offline since the start was the city phone system and OAK 311 non-emergency information services.

Last week, “The network outage had impacted many non-emergency systems, including our ability to collect payments, process reports, and issue permits and licenses." Although many of the municipal buildings are still closed as per the February 23 update, many city services have been restored online.

The city noted that all late fees are waived for parking citations, business licenses and permits.

The National Guard and CalOES teams were brought onsite February 23 in an effort to help with the restoration of employee workstations.

It is still unclear if a ransom was demanded or paid out by the city and if investigators know the individual or group responsible for the attack.

Some sources have told local news outlets that financial systems were compromised, but the city has been mum on the issue.

All affected city services were taken offline, as a precautionary measure, as soon as the attack was first discovered.