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Las Vegas city officials do not believe cyber attack caused harm

A breach of the city of Las Vegas’ computer network did not appear to cause any harm, a spokesman said Wednesday, crediting the city’s fast-acting response to avoid “what had the potential to be a devastating situation.”

Officials do not believe any data was lost from its systems or any personal data was stolen following a “cyber compromise” Tuesday morning, city spokesman David Riggleman said in a statement. The city did not know who was responsible for the cyber attack, but Riggleman said that city staff would continue to investigate.

“Thanks to the city’s software security systems and fast action by the city’s Information Technologies staff, the city was fortunate to avoid what had the potential to be a devastating situation,” Riggleman said.

City officials were alerted at about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday of unusual activity in the network, an intrusion that officials believe likely occurred through an email. IT staff acted immediately, Riggleman said, to protect data systems and identify whether any public data was accessed.

‘Minimal’ interruptions

During those efforts, he warned of “minimal” interruptions for those interacting with the city — activity such as sending emails — but he said that all data systems were functioning as normal Wednesday.

He said that attacks in recent years against other U.S. cities have prompted city officials to take precautions to safeguard the city’s computer network. There are on average 279,000 attempts to breach Las Vegas’ systems every month and about two million emails coming into the network monthly.

Ransomware attacks, where scammers use software to lock computer systems and demand money to return access, has struck cities such as Baltimore, New Orleans and Atlanta over the past two years with highly disruptive results.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman sponsored a resolution approved by the U.S. Conference of Mayors last summer that resolved not to pay ransoms in the event of a cybersecurity breach.

Contact Shea Johnson at sjohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.

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