Cybersecurity Attack in New Orleans

In yet another attack on an American city, cybersecurity criminals besieged New Orleans over the weekend with a flurry of phishing and ransomware attempts. Beginning shortly before dawn Friday, the faceless hackers continued to ratchet up their activity through the morning hours, reaching a peak around 8 am. The head of the city’s IT department confirmed that once the city became aware of the attack, vulnerable and critical server systems and their computers were shut down.

Declaring a state of emergency, city officials are still trying to determine the entry point of the attack. Thus far, and somewhat strangely, there have been no monetary demands from the perpetrators—“While ransomware was detected there are no requests made to the city of New Orleans at this time, but that is very much a part of our investigation”, Latoya Cantrell, mayor of New Orleans, commented. Which is atypical, considering similar attacks this year in Baltimore, Jackson County, Georgia, and just last week, Pensacola, Florida, where file-encrypting malware blocks access to certain city functions (emergency services, city emails, coordination systems) and demand a monetary payment in order to release the sequestered systems.

With our world increasingly becoming digitized, cybersecurity is expected to become one of the largest threats to the global industry—just this year alone ransomware attacks reached $11.5 billion—this figure is expected to leap toward over $6 trillion annually by the year 2021.

As a longtime supplier to a host of industries, not only in the United States but globally as well, OTEK has continually innovated its product lines to meet rising challenges, and cybersecurity is no different. And perhaps there is no industry where cybersecurity is more important than nuclear. It’s not too difficult to envision the potential damage that would occur if a cybersecurity breach ever yielded total access of a power plant to these shadow criminals.

When the Nuclear Regulation Commission (NRC) mandated NEI 08-09 to cover cybersecurity procedures and standards within the industry, OTEK stepped up to the plate with new technology designed specifically to combat cybersecurity intrusions—our New Technology Meters (NTM) and the Solid State Analog Meter (SSAM). Both were designed with NEI 08-09 in mind—the NTM series adheres to the precautions established by the NRC so that it may be considered cybersecurity safe, while the SSAM is exempt from cybersecurity standards by way of containing no hackable components.

The NTM series carries over 22 models and adheres to 10CFR50, 10CFR21, and NEI 08-09. Common features of the series include: current loop powered options, AC and DC signal power, external power as well as bar-meter displays, a signal input fail alarm that notifies the operator of a dead or lost signal, isolated serial I/O and flash memory, 1-4 channel models available, over 30 input signals, and all models can be produced to military and nuclear grades as well.

Our SSAM series is unique in the industry, as it was designed without a microprocessor and other critical digital assets that could be targeted by hackers. Powered by CMOS logic, the SSAM features a 4 ½ digit LED display at 0.1% accuracy, 4-20mA and 10-50mA current loops, V/A AC/DC, Watts, Hertz, or an external power option, a signal failure alarm, optional isolated H.V. SPDT dual alarms for enunciator panel lamps and 4-20mA outputs, and our signature scale plate design that allows for unlimited color customizations without having to change the panel or wiring—just remove the scale plate and install the new colored plate over our pure white LEDs.

With our world increasingly becoming interconnected and shrunken by way of digital technology such as the internet, it is of the utmost importance to stay vigilant in protecting our systems and data. OTEK stands at the ready to meet these cybersecurity threats and all others as well, with technology that measures up.

For more information on the NTM, the SSAM, or any of our other products, please call 520-748-7900 or email our sales team at