New Orleans has experienced two major disasters by the end of 2019, which include the collapse of the partially built Hard Rock Hotel in October, and a cyber attack in December that continues to cripple everyday city services. These two issues had impacted disruptively on New Orleans City Council’s Budget Committee as they both are expensive.
According to Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s top deputy, Chief Administrative Officer Gilbert Montaño, the cyberattack has already cost the city $3 million to clean computers, get city emails up and running and pay overtime to the city’s IT personnel. According to Montaño, the city expects to spend another $4 million on the recovery, which includes replacing outdated equipment, new security tools and “cybersecurity team staffing.” $3 million out of the total $7 million in expected costs will be recovered by the city’s cyberattack liability insurance.
On December 14, 2019, the New Orleans government experienced cyber attacks on their networks. It is reported that the attack caused the computer to be offline, the office to be closed, and the city government website to be closed. However, the city had not found any password cracking or data loss issues in the attack, but the flood of emails meant the city’s systems were temporarily shut down. Experts from the Louisiana Police, National Guard, FBI, and Secret Service have joined the investigation.
At the same time, officials said important public safety services would continue to operate and the City Hall office would rely on paper and pencil to continue its business. The exact nature and scope of the attack were unclear, but it appears to have started at about 5 a.m. on December 14. At the time, city officials initially noticed suspicious activity on their network. At 8 a.m., employees received reports of suspicious activities when they went to work. Subsequently, officials decided to shut down the government system after 11 am.
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