California city declares state of emergency after ransomware attack

The city manager for Oakley, California, declared a state of emergency to accelerate the city's response to a ransomware attack.
(Getty Images)

The San Francisco Bay Area city of Oakley, home to about 43,000 people, was hit last week with a ransomware attack, prompting the city manager to declare a state of emergency “out of an abundance of caution,” while the city’s technology division worked with law enforcement to investigate the extent of the attack.

The city said Thursday that emergency services, including 911, police, fire, ambulances were not affected.

According to the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, the purpose of a local emergency proclamation is to “provide extraordinary police powers, immunity for emergency actions, authorize issuance of orders and regulations, activate pre-established emergency provisions, and is a prerequisite for requesting state or federal assistance.”

In a statement about the attack, the city officials said they’re developing a response plan to address the incident.


“The city’s Emergency Operations Center has been partially activated, and IT has taken affected systems offline while we work to safely secure and restore services,” the statement reads. “While this work is being done, the public should expect delays in non-emergency services from the City.”

Meanwhile, 24 miles away in Pleasant Hill, that city’s police department is investigating a “cyber incident” that impacted the city’s computer infrastructure, which also occurred Feb. 22. Officials said in a statement that city services remain operational and that “public safety was never compromised.”

“IT professionals detected and responded to a cyber intrusion targeting the City’s computer servers. The intrusion was quickly isolated in order to minimize any damage,” according to a statement from Pleasant Hill officials about the incident.

Though both attacks occurred the same day in Contra Costa County, home to 19 cities in California’s Bay Area, it’s unclear if they’re connected.

Sophia Fox-Sowell

Written by Sophia Fox-Sowell

Sophia Fox-Sowell reports on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and government regulation for StateScoop. She was previously a multimedia producer for CNET, where her coverage focused on private sector innovation in food production, climate change and space through podcasts and video content. She earned her bachelor’s in anthropology at Wagner College and master’s in media innovation from Northeastern University.

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