OAKLAND, Calif. - The City of Oakland's crippling ransomware attack is now in its third week with slight progress to report which it will only do online; answering no further questions. Though Oakland is trying to recover from the ongoing ransomware attack, it remains seriously hobbled.
Most important for now, many police services have been restored to field officers, so they can check identities, criminal records and warrants. That is a major step forward.
However, Oakland’s OAK311 phone system remains out with no phone service, forcing residents to use Oakland Fire Department Dispatch's non-emergency line to report downed trees, limbs, flooding, sewer overflows, and street traffic signal outages.
Online payments for business taxes are also currently unavailable, but businesses will be allowed to pay up to six weeks after the March 1 due date.
As to permits, applications and documents can now be uploaded or downloaded online. A makeshift permit counter has opened for limited in-person appointments.
Parking Citation Assistance Center cashiers cannot take calls nor accept payment but will help folks make online payments on their phones or through the phone payment system.
Oakland's officials will answer no questions about other critical services and functions, nor if data was lost, stolen or compromised.
KTVU spoke with professor Kevin Powers, a long-time expert in cybersecurity and teaches law and business at Boston College. Powers says Oakland's utter silence on this is not surprising to him based on his long experience.
"More likely than not, the City of Oakland is working with the FBI, they're working with the Department of Justice, they're working with Homeland Security… So what they're doing is: they're keeping quiet, not for nefarious purposes, but they're protecting the integrity of the investigation," said Powers.
Powers also said Oakland officials likely do not know who is extorting the City. During their silence, the city and outside agencies may be looking for ways to unlock the system.
"Yeah, it's tough on them but kudos to them for following that advice," said Powers.
So, it seems, the taxpayers and residents must remain uninformed.