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Bill for New Orleans Cyber-Attack $7m and Rising

The December cyber-attack on the southern city of New Orleans has caused over $7m of damage.

New Orleans mayor Latoya Cantrell said yesterday that the already alarmingly high figure continues to grow as the city recovers from the incident. 

A cyber-insurance policy taken out by New Orleans prior to the attack has allowed the Big Easy to recover $3m, but the popular vacation city will still be left cruelly out of pocket as a result of the incident. According to Cantrell, the cost is just something that the city will "have to eat."

"This is something that we have to deal with as a city and it is an expense that we also have to eat as a city. It speaks to the priority of infrastructure that has always been a priority of mine and it also speaks to the real push for maintenance of infrastructure. This will be ongoing," Cantrell told Fox8.

The $7m figure does not include the cost of paying a ransom to the attack's perpetrators, who, despite using ransomware to cripple the city's computer networks, never issued a ransom demand. 

In a stoic display of optimism, Cantrell told Fox8 that the ravages wrought by the attack, although bad, could have been far worse. 

She said: "The early detection and the intrusion helped us one. IT halted our networks, shut them down completely, which prevented this cyber-attack from being catastrophic."

Recovery from the attack is still a long way off, according to the city’s chief administrative officer, Gilbert Montano, as New Orleans is currently wading through a significant backlog of work that resulted from the forced reversion to manual governance.

"Now, we’re in the stabilization period. We are trying to rebuild what we had to turn off essentially and that is a long, laborious, time-sensitive process and that’s where I am telling staff and employees we’re looking maybe at a six to eight month window before actual normalcy starts to integrate all of our systems," said Montano.

Expenses that are included in the $7m figure are the cost of purchasing 3,400 new computers and improving the city's IT infrastructure in an effort to prevent future cyber-catastrophes.

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