Oakland mayor hopes ransomware attack is fixed in 2 weeks

Oakland's mayor did not divulge too many more details about the city's ransomware attack, now nearly a month old, but she did say she hopes it resolves soon.

"I'm very hopeful that in two weeks or so, everything will be at 100% normal," Mayor Sheng Thao said in a one-on-one interview on Tuesday. She quickly added the caveat that anything can happen in that period.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that data released by a hacker group on Feb. 8  includes 12 years of city employee rosters that list thousands of current and past employees’ Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers, birth dates and home addresses, even those of Thao and former Mayor Libby Schaaf.

The city has not disclosed how the ransomware attack occurred. 

Thao acknowledged that having personal information stolen is "very frustrating," and that her administration is "taking this very seriously," working together with data specialists and the FBI.  

Without placing direct blame on any one person, Thao said it's likely the city's computers were hacked because of decades-old  "divestments and disinvestments into the IT department."

She didn't specify how much her administration wants to spend on modernizing the IT department now, but added "that is something this administration is taking seriously." 

Thao would not say if Oakland had paid, or even was considering, paying off the attackers. 

Zac Unger, president of Oakland Firefighters Local 55, said the attack is affecting some employees' pay. 

"Some of our members were not paid for almost two weeks, the full amount that they were due," Unger said. 

In addition, several firefighters are worried about what information is out there about them, including their medical records and those of their families, Unger said. 

Unger said that the firefighters' union warned the city about seven or eight years ago that they were vulnerable to a ransomware attack.

"We've been warning the city for years about making sure they get their technology to date," Unger said.