Computer hackers apparently target City of North Port

(Source: Pixabay)
(Source: Pixabay)
Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 1:48 PM EST
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NORTH PORT, Fla. (Sun Newspapers) - The City of North Port was the target of a possible computer hack earlier this week, prompting the city to cut off public access to online systems and use alternate phone numbers.

According to the North Port Sun, the city has authorized hiring outside experts to address what looks like an unauthorized breach of its internal technology infrastructure. “We need help,” spokesperson Josh Taylor said of Thursday’s special City Commission session.

It’s unclear if any public data were affected, city official said. Police and fire emergency services have not been affected.

Learning of a likely breach or the threat of one, the city late Tuesday shut down its internal technology, issued alternate phone lines to the public and closed off virtual access to most city services such as permits, planning and inspections, a spokesperson said.

North Port also issued alerts via social media, listing alternate nonemergency contacts. Police and fire emergency services continued without interruption, however.

The incident followed a national alert this week issued as a joint Cybersecurity Advisory that provided an overview of Russian state-sponsored cyber operations, including tactics, techniques and procedures.

It also provided detection actions, incident response guidance or temporary workarounds, which is what North Port administrators were tasked with doing Thursday.

There was no indication North Port was responding to a ransomware attack, in which cybercriminals infiltrate and freeze anything from electric grids to personal data, demanding a ransom to unlock that threat. Billions in ransomware had reportedly been paid in such recent attacks, according to media accounts.

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