City of Jacksonville Beach releases statement on last week’s ‘cybersecurity event’

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — In the wake of last week’s “information systems issue” as “the result of a cybersecurity event”, Jacksonville Beach released a statement on the city’s digital infrastructure.

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Action News Jax broke this story on Wed., Jan. 29 when the city temporarily shut down “due to Information Systems Issues.”

At that time, Jacksonville Beach was forced to close city hall and city facilities.

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“Government entities house our data. A lot of it is sensitive data,” Chris Freedman, the CEO of OnDefend, said. Which makes them a target for potential hackers.

Related Story: City of Jacksonville Beach ‘Information Systems issues’ are ‘the result of a cybersecurity event’

While a representative for Jacksonville Beach said no personal data was compromised, Freedman said that’s typically what hackers are after. That’s especially the case for smaller municipalities that don’t always have the money to invest in prevention tools and staff training.

Related Story: ‘They’re softer targets:’ Jax Beach ‘cybersecurity event’ highlights larger concern, expert says

In the following statement released by the Jacksonville Beach City Council, the police department’s dispatch and processing operations are fully operational. Pension payroll and employee payroll are also being processed.

“Good evening, members of the City Council, colleagues, and citizens of our community. I would like to provide you with an update on the recent cybersecurity event that has impacted our city’s digital infrastructure. I want to assure you that our team, in collaboration with law enforcement and cybersecurity specialists, is working diligently to address this situation. However, please understand that due to the active investigation into this matter, I am limited in the details I can provide.

First and foremost, I want to emphasize that the safety and well-being of our community remain our top priority. I am pleased to report that our Beaches Energy utility is fully operational, ensuring our energy services remain uninterrupted. Similarly, the Public Works Pollution Control Plant and Water Plants are fully functional, safeguarding our city's environmental health and public safety.

Our Police Department's dispatch and processing operations remain fully functional, ensuring no disruption to their vital services to our community.

While we have encountered some challenges with our accounting functions, I want to reassure our employees and vendors that we can process pension payroll and employee payroll. We are also making progress in restoring our ability to pay vendors, albeit in a limited fashion.

Our email system and call centers are functional, which allows us to maintain effective communication within our city government and with our citizens.

Our IT teams and external cybersecurity specialists are conducting a thorough forensic investigation to understand the full scope of this event. Concurrently, we are working diligently to safely and fully restore the technical environment, enhance our cybersecurity posture, and prevent future incidents.

In closing, I express my gratitude for the patience and support of our community during this challenging time. Rest assured, we are committed to resolving this issue as swiftly as possible. We will keep the council and the public informed within the constraints of the ongoing investigation.

Thank you for your attention and continued trust in us to protect and serve our community.”

—  Statement to the City Council on the Cybersecurity Event

A city council meeting is scheduled for Monday at 6 p.m. where the statement will be read. However, the city council said it will not be discussing the ‘cybersecurity event’ and no questions be will taken at the meeting.

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