[BreachExchange] Florida city hit with cyberattack after deadly naval base attack

Destry Winant destry at riskbasedsecurity.com
Wed Dec 11 10:15:58 EST 2019


Federal authorities are investigating a cyberattack on the city of
Pensacola, Florida, home to the naval air station where officials say
a Saudi flight student killed three sailors and wounded eight others
on Friday.

City officials became aware of the attack at about 1:30am (6:30 GMT)
Saturday, less than 24 hours after the shooting, in which officials
say Saudi airman Mohammed Alshamrani opened fire in a Navy classroom.
Authorities  expressed caution about linking the two incidents -
although they were not prepared to outright dismiss any connections.

"I can confirm the city of Pensacola has experienced a cyberattack and
we've disconnected much of our city's network until the issue can be
resolved," the city's spokeswoman, Kaycee Lagarde, told the Associated
Press news agency.

"As a precaution, we have reported the incident to the federal
government," Lagarde said, acknowledging the deadly violence at the
Pensacola Naval Air Station.

She added it's too early to "confirm or dispel" if the incidents were related.

A spokesman for the FBI in Pensacola could not confirm to the
Associated Press if the agency had a role in the cyberattack

Saudi attacker 'acted alone' in Florida naval base rampage (1:59)

Alshamrani, 21, a second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force and a
student naval flight officer, was on the base as part of a Navy
training programme designed to foster links with foreign allies.

He allegedly hosted a dinner party earlier in the week where he and
three others watched videos of mass shootings. The SITE Intelligence
Group, which monitors media, said he also posted a short manifesto on
Twitter prior to the attack on Friday, in which he criticised US wars
and quoted former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Investigators are trying to establish the motive behind the attack.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called Trump on Sunday to express his
condolences and assure US President Donald Trump that Saudi
authorities would offer their absolute cooperation with the US and
provide all information that would help the investigations, the state
news agency said.

Asking for patience

Much of the Pensacola's computer systems remained offline Monday
morning. However, city officials stressed that all emergency services
were running, including 911 services.

Some phone lines to city offices were not working as the city and
federal authorities continued their investigation into the killing.

The city's email and other electronic services were also down until
further notice.

"We're continuing to operate. We just might have to do some things a
little bit old-school, with pen and paper," Lagarde said.

City officials asked for patience in a community still grieving over
the shooting at the Navy installation, a central part of the local
economy and public life.

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