New Orleans cyberattack attack to cost the city $7M, mayor says

Mackenzie Garrity - Print  | 

The bill to restore New Orleans' computer systems after a December 2019 cyberattack is currently about $7 million and continues to climb, Mayor Latoya Cantrell told local FOX affiliate WVUE.

New Orleans has $3 million on hand from its cybersecurity insurance policies. However, the city will have to take a hit to pay the remaining $4 million or more.

"This is something that we have to deal with as a city and it is an expense that we also have to eat as a city. It speaks to the priority of infrastructure that has always been a priority of mine and it also speaks to the real push for maintenance of infrastructure. This will be ongoing," Ms. Cantrell told WVUE.

City officials are handling an extensive backlog of data entry and requests after manually operating the city government since the attack. It will take months to rebuild its network. However, the city was spared when its IT department shut down its computers to stop the spread of the ransomware. 

"Now, we're in the stabilization period. We are trying to rebuild what we had to turn off essentially and what is a long, laborious, time-sensitive process, and that's where I am telling staff and employees we're looking maybe at a six- to eight-month window before actual normalcy starts to integrate all of our systems," Chief Administrative Officer Gilbert Montano told WVUE.

No ransom was ever demanded or paid by the city. However, the city must now spend millions of dollars to buy new computers and improve its IT infrastructure.

"Cleaning over 3,400 computers was necessary in that recovery. We realized we would lose some of those computers because we also [must] build a stronger cybersecurity platform and on that new platform certain antiquated devices just could not be recovered [and] would not operate in this new platform," said New Orleans CIO Kim LaGrue to WVUE

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