City of Pensacola hit by a cyberattack few days after military base shooting

Pierluigi Paganini December 10, 2019

The city of Pensacola, Florida, had been hit by a cyberattack, just days after a Saudi officer killed three American sailors at the city’s naval base.

The city of Pensacola has been hit by a cyber attack over the weekend, the incident took place around 1:30 a.m. on Saturday. City IT staff has been working to restore the network, but some services are still down.

In response to the incident, the city was forced to disconnect most of its systems, the attack impacted emails, telephone lines, and online payment services. Fortunately, 911 and other emergency services, including the ones operated by the police and fire departments, were not affected.

Authorities did not link the cyber attacks to the recent attacks at the naval base. Last week, a shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida left three sailors dead, the FBI suspects it “was an act of terrorism.”

On Friday, Mohammed Alshamrani, a second lieutenant in the Saudi Royal Air Force, opened fire in a classroom at the Pensacola naval base and killing the three sailors and wounded eight others. Alshamrani was shot dead by police.

“We severed things immediately as soon as we found out we were having this problem,” Robinson said. “So (public safety services) were severed immediately. … They’re up and running and no problems at this particular time.” said Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson in a press conference .

At the time of writing, the city did not disclose details on the attack and the impacted systems.

Pensacola spokeswoman Kaycee Lagarde confirmed that the city was working with the authorities, including FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Lagarde confirmed that most of the systems that are currently offline were taken down by the IT staff.

“IT is working diligently on it as quickly as they can to get it restored, but we don’t have an estimate at this point,” Lagarde said.

Pensacola is only the last city in Florida hit by hackers. In November, the City of Ocala in Florida is the last victim in order of time of a profitable business email compromise scam (BEC) attack, fraudsters redirected over $742,000 to a bank account under their control. In August, the city of Naples, Florida, was a victim of a BEC attack and fraudsters redirected around $700,000 into their account.

In June, Lake City and Riviera Beach City agreed to pay respectively $600,000 and $600,000 in ransom.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Pensacola city, hacking)

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