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Hayward restores website following ransomware attack; no evidence of personal data breach | #ransomware | #cybercrime

Hayward has restored public access to its official website following a ransomware attack that targeted the city’s computer networks over the weekend and left digital communications hobbled for days.

A message Tuesday on the city’s website said the website and associated online municipal portals were “gradually coming back online after a precautionary shutdown due to a recent cyber-security incident.” There was no estimated time for full restoration. Residents were asked to report any broken web links and non-functioning phone numbers by emailing [email protected] or calling City Hall at 510-583-4300.

City officials still had no evidence or reason to believe “at this stage” that the personal information of any city employees or the general public had been obtained or breached in the attack, said Chuck Finnie, a city spokesperson. If such a breach is found, Finnie said the city will contact the affected people directly.

The city detected the cyber intrusion early Sunday morning. Many details surrounding it remained unclear, such as how the attack was carried out, who may be behind it and what may have been demanded from the city.

Early in its response to the intrusion, Hayward discovered messages that led officials to believe they were dealing with a ransomware attack, Finnie said. He declined to go into detail about the content of the messages.

When asked if Hayward had been considering meeting any possible demands for payment, Finnie only said the city was focused on assessing the extent of the intrusion and safely bringing back online affected systems. Hayward has said it’s been working with cybersecurity professionals throughout the attack, and Finnie said protocol for such incidents dictates that the city works with federal law enforcement on the criminal side of an investigation.

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National Cyber Security