Fayetteville, Arkansas latest city dealing with debilitating cyberattack
The city of Fayetteville, Arkansas is in the midst of a “suspected cyber incident,” forcing officials to take most digital municipal services offline.
The city’s mayor and city council did not respond to requests for comment but the government confirmed the cyberattack in a message on its website last week.
Fayetteville is the second largest city in Arkansas with nearly 100,000 residents and is part of the three-county Northwest Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area, with more than 575,000 residents.
“The City of Fayetteville has experienced a suspected cyber incident, and most online/web-based municipal services have been taken offline as a proactive measure. This includes email, online payments, inspection scheduling and network applications,” the city said.
“Police, Fire and 911 emergency services are not affected by this issue. The City’s Information Technology department has engaged all available resources and is working on the issue. Online services are anticipated to remain unavailable for several days, at minimum.”
City officials added that if the Fayetteville Police Department’s non-emergency phone lines are not working, they can reach out to several other numbers.
State officials did not respond to requests for comment but in updates on June 12 the city said its email systems are still offline.
Utility bill payments need to be made in person and can only be made with cash or check – but no one will have their utilities disconnected while the city deals with its network outage.
Public meetings, which are typically made available online, will not have a virtual attendance option while they deal with the outage as the city’s Zoom systems have been disabled due to the outage.
Fayetteville IT Director Keith Macedo told local news outlet 4029 News on Tuesday that the city has hired three separate cybersecurity firms to help with the response to the incident.
Fayetteville is the latest city to face service outages due to cyberattacks or ransomware incidents. Several major U.S. municipalities have dealt with crippling incidents this year that limited emergency services and led to the theft of resident information.
It took the city of Dallas nearly a month to partially recover from a devastating ransomware incident that caused a range of issues for the city. Augusta, Georgia as well as Oakland are among the major cities attacked in 2023 alongside several local governments in South Carolina, California, Oregon and New Jersey.
Jonathan Greig is a Breaking News Reporter at Recorded Future News. Jonathan has worked across the globe as a journalist since 2014. Before moving back to New York City, he worked for news outlets in South Africa, Jordan and Cambodia. He previously covered cybersecurity at ZDNet and TechRepublic.