Computer Virus Affects Union City Services

A virus has infected the city of Union City's governmental computer servers, leaving that local government temporarily unable to retrieve or respond to emails, process licenses or permits of perform other routine administrative duties.

According to a news release from the city, City Hall will not open until noon Monday, as city employees are informed about the virus and its impacts. It is expected regular hours (8 a.m. to 6 p.m.) will resume Tuesday.

Police and fire response and dispatching are not impacted by the virus and its various effects. The FBI has contacted City Hall officials to help investigate the computer virus. 

The virus struck the city's computer system on Saturday.

The city has activated its Emergency Operations Center, which will remain open until the virus situation is resolved. The city is also consulting with federal and state agencies and other "cyber experts" to help defeat the virus.

A city spokeswoman called the attack debilitating.

"Our systems are currently 100% down, and all city email is down," spokeswoman Lauren Sugayan said.

Vrijendra Gokjle went to City Hall to buy a Clipper pass for his daughter. Because of the virus, he couldn't get it and was told to head to Oakland instead.

"It's really inconvenient, and I have to miss a few work hours," he said.

Building permits can't be issued either, putting contractors behind schedule.

"So it will be delayed, and construction will not be started unless they release the building permit," contractor Reggie Capili said.

Until the situation is cleared up, Union City officials say people having business with the city should either call City Hall on the phone (for a staff directory go to https://www.unioncity.org/275/Contact-City-Staff) or come to City Hall in person.

City officials recommend the public avoid requesting the processing of fees and licenses for the next week, unless absolutely necessary. Any late fees incurred this week will be waived. 

Emergency services are not impacted by the virus, but computers in police cars are down. But the computers in police patrol cars are down, along with the systems used to process evidence and write police reports.

The city is not saying who is behind the cyber-attack and says it has not been asked for money.

"No money has been paid," Sugayan said. "I can't speak to the ransomware issue."

City employees are supposed to get their paychecks this week, but with the system offline, they could see delays too.

The city will notify the public when the computer systems are back online. Residents can check for routine updates at the City of Union City official Facebook page (@CityofUnionCity), its official Twitter page (@UnionCityCa_Gov), and its official NextDoor account.

NBC Bay Area's Marianne Favro contributed to this report.

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