Cybersecurity issues in Contra Costa County, one city declares state of emergency

FILE - A participant uses two laptops during a final cyber security competition.  (Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)

Two East Bay cities are investigating cybersecurity issues, including a ransomware attack that happened this week. 

Officials with the City of Oakley said experts are looking into the severity of the issue after they learned that it was subject to a ransomware attack on Thursday. 

Out of abundance of caution, Oakley's city manager has declared a state of emergency. The city's Information Technology Division is coordinating with law enforcement and cybersecurity professionals to investigate the attack. 

Officials assured that 911, police, fire and ambulance emergency services were not affected. 

"The City’s Emergency Operations Center has been partially activated, and IT has taken affected systems offline while we work to safely secure and restore services," a statement from the city read. 

According to The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to deny access to a user's data, usually by encrypting the data with a key known only to the hacker who deployed the malware, until a ransom is paid. 

Also in Contra Costa County, Pleasant Hill police are investigating a "cyber incident" on Thursday that affected the city's computer infrastructure.

City officials said IT professionals detected and responded to the intrusion of the city's servers. "The intrusion was quickly isolated in order to minimize any damage," the city said in a statement. 

The extent of the intrusion is under investigation. Officials said city services remained operational at all times and that "public safety was never compromised." 

It is not clear if these incidents may be connected. 

Officials will provide updates when more information is available. 


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