The following are updates from the City of Covington Facebook page about the recent cyber attack on the city’s server. Sign up to receive updates from the city at www.covla.com
Monday March 15, 2021
The Louisiana National Guard Cyber Restoration Unit worked continuously over the weekend with City Information Technology (IT) personnel. There remains no timeline for system functionality. I am pleased to report that one member of the Guard shared that the City of Covington IT team is “one of top three we have ever worked with.” That’s nice … congratulations to IT Director Quenton Belanger, Police Chief Deputy Trey Mahon and IT-Man Aaron Hebert.
Police, Fire, Public Works, Cultural Arts and Events, Parks and Recreation and Facilities are all fully deployed and operational. Utility Billing and Finance (computer-based functions) remain severely hampered.
Continue to use 911 for all emergencies. Text CPDLA, space, then your message to 847411 for police non-emergencies. In a practical sense, this has permanently replaced calling 892-8500.
Last week’s hack was one of perhaps 30,000 that occurred. More details are available at CBS News Report “Microsoft Hack” https://www.cbsnews.com/…/microsoft-exchange-server…/
Importance of Two-Factor Authentication: Lately we see more and more businesses asking us (as individuals) for two-factor authentication i.e. “text a code to your phone.” Regardless of this particular breach of security, one may now presume the bad guys have your personal information. It is just a matter of time before they make a play on your assets. The two-factor authentication is an important way to prevent them from using your information. -MMJ
March 12, 2021
Yesterday morning around 7:00am we discovered a significant hack into the City of Covington’s computer systems. All systems were locked down including Police, Fire, Public Works, Utility Billing and Finance.
By 11:00am yesterday the State Cyber Security Alliance was on site investigating and securing our systems. The Alliance consists of experts from the State Department of Homeland Security, LA State Police Department and New Orleans Field Office of the Secret Service. They were at City Hall in less than 240 minutes. Pretty impressive.
This morning members of the LA National Guard Cyber Restoration Team began arriving. They are working to get the City back up and running.
The Team’s priorities are first responders, utility billing and then key administrative functions.Regarding retrieval of information, we are currently in the process of diagnostics. We cannot offer an opinion on what was taken or is recoverable until we have a proper diagnosis.
At this point we can speculate it will be a week or so before we have basic operational functions.
The cyber security team has shared we are one victim of tens of thousands in America in this current wave of breaches … the bad guys found a vulnerability in a Microsoft program. – MMJ
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