NEW ORLEANS – In the evening hours of January 15, the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center’s network was attacked with ransomware, similar to what recently has been experienced by other local governments and state agencies.
Essentially, data on the Center’s network was rendered inaccessible throughout the facility. The current events underway at the Convention Center were inconvenienced, but have not been otherwise negatively affected.
Convention Center employees continue to be in contact with guest representatives to keep them apprised of the status of the attack and answer any questions they may have. At this point, no sensitive personal employee data is known to have been compromised.
The Convention Center maintains a robust Cyber Risk Insurance Policy. A claim was filed as soon as the attack was verified. This policy provides a host of benefits supporting the Convention Center through recovery with experienced subject matter experts, which includes a data breach response team to contain, analyze, investigate and remediate the attack. That team was immediately engaged and has been working closely with Convention Center staff and legal counsel to respond to and manage this incident with the most minimal possible impacts
The Center has best practices in place to protect data from cyber-attacks with multiple redundancies in place. As has been the case with the recent reported attacks on other public entities, a new variant of the ransomware was employed without detection, thus compromising data on all redundancies.
The Center has all available resources, including staff and retained experts, working towards a full recovery. “Even with our extreme vigilance and system redundancies, we were victimized by a criminal element seeking to harm the Center, our clients, and our vendors. Fortunately, we have a well-trained staff, an expert IT Department, and world-class experts that will get us through this incident, said Michael J. Sawaya, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center President. “As we work through recovery, we will make it our priority to minimize the impact on the events we will be hosting at the Convention Center in the coming days.”