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New Orleans Ransomware Attack Update: City to Raise Cyber Insurance to $10M

The City of New Orleans will raise its cyber insurance coverage from $3 million to $10 million in 2020, Mayor LaToya Cantrell told WWL-TV. The news comes after ransomware shut down New Orleans government systems on December 13, 2019.

New Orleans officials detected suspicious activity on its networks that indicated a potential cyberattack at 5 a.m. on December 13, city IT Director Kimberly LaGrue told WWL-TV. The suspicious activity increased over the next several hours, and by 11 a.m., New Orleans employees were notified about the cyberattack.

Around 4,000 New Orleans government computers were affected by the cyberattack, City Council President Helena Moreno told WWL-TV. Multiple public services have been affected by the cyberattack, and a forensic investigation into the incident has been initiated.

New Orleans officials never received a ransom request, and all data impacted by the cyberattack can be recovered, according to WWL-TV. City ransomware attack recovery is underway, but there is no timetable for when all affected computer systems will be restored.

City of Baltimore Officials Approve Cyber Insurance Purchase

The Baltimore Board of Estimates in October approved the city's purchase of $20 million in cyber liability coverage after cybercriminals launched a ransomware attack against the city earlier this year.

Baltimore's cyber liability insurance covers any disruptions to city networks, The Baltimore Sun reported. It also includes two plans: one that offers $10 million in liability coverage from Chubb Insurance at a cost of $500,103 in premiums, and another that features $10 million in excess coverage from AXA XL Insurance at a cost of $335,000.

Is Cyber Insurance Necessary?

Cyber insurance coverage can provide financial protection for municipalities, government agencies and other organizations in the event of a cyberattack. Yet most organizations still lack cyber coverage, according to a recent survey of 581 IT professionals conducted by IT systems and network monitoring software company Spiceworks.

The Spiceworks survey revealed that 62 percent of organizations do not have cyber insurance. It also showed that organizations without cyber insurance cited coverage was not a priority (41 percent) as the top reason for not purchasing cyber insurance, followed by lack of budget (40 percent), lack of knowledge about cyber insurance (36 percent) and not required by regulations (34 percent).

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.