Las Vegasís computer network took a devastating cyberattack theorized to have originated from a malicious email earlier this month. Immediately following the attack, Las Vegas took down its computer network to investigate the threat. The event has been called the latest in a string of ransomware attacks on US cities, with past targets across the last two years being Atlanta, New Orleans, and Baltimore.

Ransomware is one of the several types of malware - malicious programs that seek to compromise a personís important information by infecting their computer. Ransomware is commonly transmitted via suspicious emails or downloads from suspicious websites. The defining characteristic of ransomware in specific is that, after collecting your information, it threatens to leak it if you donít pay it a bribe, literally ransoming the security of your data. Other version of the ransomware model simply encrypt all the contents of a computer and demand payment in exchange for the unlock key.

The following day Las Vegas reported via their Twitter account that no data was taken from their servers. But as of this time, the source of the original email is unknown. The last high-profile ransomware attack on a United States city occurred in December of last year. On December 13th, the city of New Orleans was forced to shut down their servers on account of a ransomware cyberattack that, according to John Simerman of Govtech.com, could have been organized crime. The system was infected with a cyber threat called Ryuk, ransomware that locks computer data and demands bitcoin for its release. As of right now, the specific breed of ransomware that infected Las Vegasí servers hasnít been shared, nor were its demands. Due to the swift action of Las Vegas city IT staff, no information was taken.

Malware, CyberAttacks On US Cities Continue


The list of reasons why Las Vegas would suffer a cyber attack is long. Current tensions between the United States and Iran might persuade people to expect a rise in cyber attacks across the nation. Though thereís no shortage of hackers who might want to inconvenience an event like the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show, which was starting on the same day at its Las Vegas location. Until the investigation proves successful, people will likely be pointing fingers at red herrings.

Regardless of what the reason is, itís good that the Las Vegas government has an experienced IT staff on board and takes their cybersecurity seriously. While it may be easy to just download some antivirus software and call it a day, itís important that more cities keep their staff up to date on every aspect of their cybersecurity.