Ransomware, Content

Ransomware Attacks New Orleans Government Agency

The Orleans Parish Assessor's Office, a City of New Orleans government agency responsible for property assessments and taxes, last week discovered that cybercriminals used ransomware to breach its server, according to WWL-TV.

It is unclear what type of ransomware was used during the attack and how much damage it caused, or if the incident is related to the New Orleans cyberattack that was identified in 2019.

No personal or confidential Orleans Parish Assessor's Office information was stolen during the ransomware attack, office officials indicated. In addition, the Orleans Parish Assessor's Office is working with the FBI to investigate the incident.

How Has the Ransomware Attack Affected the Orleans Parish Assessor's Office?

All Orleans Parish Assessor's Office functions remain operational after the ransomware attack, according to office officials. Also, there will no changes relating to public-facing sections of the office's website following the attack.

The Orleans Parish Assessor's Office was previously closed to the public due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak last month, WDSU reported. However, office staff can still access data despite the ransomware attack.

The Orleans Parish Assessor's Office had "multiple levels of authentication" in its system, WWL-TV stated. Yet, cybercriminals still breached the office's server, and additional security measures may be required to guard against future cyberattacks.

How Can Government Agencies Guard Against Ransomware Attacks?

Ultimately, there are several things that government agencies can do to protect their data and systems against ransomware and other types of cyberattacks, such as:

  • Deploy a combination of security solutions, including unified threat management, antivirus, anti-malware and others, to keep pace with evolving cyberattacks.
  • Develop and implement a business continuity strategy that ensures an agency can quickly recover after a cyberattack.
  • Teach employees about cyber threats and how to identify and address them.

Along with these tips, government agencies can partner with MSSPs to enhance their security posture. MSSPs can provide managed security services tailored to a government agency's security requirements to help an agency limit the impact of cyberattacks.

Dan Kobialka

Dan Kobialka is senior contributing editor, MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E. He covers IT security, IT service provider business strategies and partner programs. Dan holds a M.A. in Print and Multimedia Journalism from Emerson College and a B.A. in English from Bridgewater State University. In his free time, Dan enjoys jogging, traveling, playing sports, touring breweries and watching football.