New Orleans mayor declares state of emergency amid cyber attack

NEW ORLEANS — A cyberattack Friday prompted New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell to declare a state of emergency in the city as officials preemptively shut down computers and servers connected to the city.

The extent of the attack remained unclear early Saturday.

Cantrell said officials first noticed suspicious activity on the city's network around 5 a.m. Friday. A few hours later, technicians saw "activity indicating a cybersecurity incident," she said. As a precaution, officials with the city's information technology department shut down servers and city computers.

At a news conference Friday, the city’s chief information officer, Kim LaGrue, said investigators found evidence of both phishing attempts and ransomware, according to LaGrue said no city employees provided information to would-be scammers who attempted to phish them. reported it was unclear Friday whether ransomware had been installed on city systems, however, Cantrell said that no demands for money had been made.

The incident is being investigated by city officials, Louisiana State Police, the Louisiana National Guard, the FBI and the Secret Service.

According to CNN, Cantrell said Friday’s cyberattack was similar to one carried out in July against systems on the state level. Three school systems were attacked that month by malware, leading Gov. John Bel Edwards to issue a state of emergency, The Hill reported.