Just hours after a shooting broke out at a naval station nearby, a cyber-attack hit the city of Pensacola. City employees in the IT department were made aware of the incident during the early hours of Saturday, December 7th and have been on the case ever since. The attack method is unknown at this time, but several of the city’s services such as online payment systems for the energy and sanitation departments, as well as other services were involved. Since these systems contain sensitive information, it is currently being determined whether or not data was exposed. Email is also down as well, but fortunately, the 911 system, along with other emergency services have not been disrupted. The FBI, Homeland Security and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are all providing resources to help assist the investigation.
Although it is unknown at this time how the attack was carried out, a thorough investigation is crucial when attempting to identify system disruptions and deter future attacks before they happen. Once the initial cause of the intrusion and the attacker’s techniques are understood, a good defense-in-depth strategy should integrate lessons learned from this attack to monitor endpoints for early warning signs of attacker behavior.