Weeks after hackers managed to take over several Oakland city data, it appears they’ve started posting employee’s personal information online.
“It’s perhaps one of the greatest challenges I have seen for the city,” said councilmember Noel Gallo.
Nearly a month after hackers essentially froze all city online services, Oakland is now dealing with a data breach impacting city employees and businesses.
“Not only do we have safety on the streets, from the potholes to crime activity, but now we are dealing with this other challenge,” said Gallo.
He said he is still trying to get his city computer to work, and at the same time he is hearing new issues from concerned business owners.
While services like 311 are back, the city is issuing extensions for things like business taxes until April 17 because that city website is still down.
“Our personal information, our name, our address, our driver’s license number, our social security number. Those are alarming concerns,” said Oakland councilmember Treva Reid.
She, and all four members of her staff, received a letter over the weekend notifying that their personal information may have been compromised.
Reid says small business owners have also received the same notice, but don’t know the extent of the information shared.
“It certainly is one of those things that you personally feel alarmed not knowing what information, who has that information and the extent that information was shared,” said Reid.
In the letter, the city offers impacted staff members a membership to identity theft resolution programs and asks staff to monitor their accounts for the next 24 months.
The group now claiming responsibility for the attack and data hijacking – is called “Play.”
San Jose State University professor, and cyber security expert, Ahmed Banfa says the group is known to target schools and government organizations.
“Play is basically a well known actor in that field. The key thing here is that what they are doing is, they are looking at how much is it going to cost you to get the information back from the backup and they give you a number way less than this so you can pay them,” said Banafa.
The city is still not providing a timeline for how long this could last, or any information on whether they plan to pay a ransom for the stolen data.
Gallo is worried about how much this could cost, and what that means for taxpayers.
“They are asking for millions of dollars, hopefully we can get this solved,” he said. “The dollars I have is from the taxpayers, I may not be able to fix your potholes like I wanted to because I have to deal with this issue.”
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Source: NBC Bay Area
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