Local Emergency Declared After Cyber Attack

By Daniel Pineda

During a special meeting on Nov. 17, the Long Beach City Council declared a local emergency, after a recent cyber attack was made on the city’s network security systems.

The meeting took place at Long Beach City College’s Liberal Art campus, with Mayor Rex Richardson leading the meeting virtually.

“It’s important to know that this is an ongoing investigation, and we will continue to provide further updates regarding the incident as the investigation unfolds,” Richardson said. “We as a city take cyber security and security very seriously.”

The incident regarding the cyber attack was first identified on Nov. 14, and was met with an immediate response by the city’s Department of Technology and Innovation, who have since then initiated an investigation and notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Further, the city engaged third-party cyber security professionals to assist with the remediation and investigation of the incident.

The council’s vote to declare the local emergency allows for city officials to move quickly to protect any and all systems within the City of Long Beach that may be threatened by the network incident, and to continue providing critical services to the public.

“I’m very proud of the response (of the) city team during these times,” City Manager Tom Modica said. “We knew we moved into emergency mode; we have lots of experience doing that. It’s a seamless system and they jumped into action. We’ve been able to operate very well.”.

Out of an abundance of caution, the city also took certain systems offline, as well as initiated a temporary version of their official website, longbeach.gov. These systems, according to the city, will remain offline until the city can safely and securely reintroduce them to the network, which could take several days.

As of Nov. 22, the city stated that most of its core services are unaffected by the network security incident and will continue to operate as usual. These services include:

Public Safety and emergency services, including the Fire and Police Departments and Emergency Communications Center.

Library Services: All locations remain open for checking-out and checking in books. Digital amenities, such as e-books, public computers and printers, and catalog searches are not currently available.

Street Sweeping: Schedules are still operating as normal, and parking citations are still being issued.

Animal Care Services: Pet adoptions and licenses remain available. Citizens, however, cannot view lost or adoptable animals online, and are encouraged to visit Animal Care Services in person to view animals.

Flu and COVID-19 vaccine administration: The city-run COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinic at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park will continue to provide rapid testing only until the system is restored. Travel vaccines are also available at the Immunization Clinic at 2525 Grand Ave.

The City of Long Beach also stated that citizens may pay parking citations online, in-person in the City Hall lobby (cash, check or money order only) or over the phone by calling (562) 570-6822. All utility billing late fees and shutoffs for non-payment have been suspended until the investigation.

While there have not been any major service disruptions at this point to many of Long Beach’s services, the city has noted that there may be some cases where the public may experience some delays with non-emergency systems and services, as they work to resolve this incident.

The City of Long Beach has also stated they are committed to keeping the public informed of any new developments and potential impacts to public services and to the community. Any pertinent updates will be provided as the investigation continues.

“We will provide as much information as soon as we can,” Tom Modica said. “We are not taking the situation lightly. We want to be as prepared as we possibly can be.”

[Author’s Note: On Nov. 27, city officials declared that it has restored most of its internet connections, network and systems, including the main website: https://www.longbeach.gov/. Most website content, including general information and department webpages, are now publicly accessible, with the majority of online services becoming available over the next several days]


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