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Federal authorities investigate cyberattack in Pensacola, Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Federal authorities are investigating a cyberattack on the city of Pensacola, Florida, home to the naval air station where a Saudi flight student killed three sailors and wounded eight others on Friday.

“I can confirm the city of Pensacola has experienced a cyberattack and we’ve disconnected much of our city’s network until the issue can be resolved,” said the city’s spokeswoman, Kaycee Lagarde.

“As a precaution we have reported the incident to the federal government,” Lagarde said, acknowledging the deadly violence at the Pensacola Naval Air Station.

City officials became aware of the attack at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday, many hours after the shooting. They expressed caution about linking the two incidents — although they were not prepared to outright dismiss any connections.

“It’s too early to confirm or dispel,” Lagarde said. “That would be a question for the federal agencies.”
A spokesman for the FBI in Pensacola said he could not confirm if his agency had a role in the cyberattack investigation.

Much of the city’s computer systems remained offline Monday morning. However, city officials stressed that all emergency services were running, including 911 services.

Some phone lines to city offices were not working as the city and federal authorities continued their investigation. The city’s email and other electronic services were also down until further notice.

“We’re continuing to operate. We just might have to do some things a little bit old-school, with pen and paper,” Lagarde said.

She could not immediately discuss how officials became aware of the cyberattack.

“We don’t want to get into too many specifics because of security,” she said.

City officials asked for patience in a community still grieving over the shooting at the Navy installation, a central part of the local economy and public life.

Investigators are trying to establish whether the killer, 2nd Lt. Mohammed Alshamrani, 21, of the Royal Saudi Air Force, acted alone or was part of a larger plot.

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