NEW ORLEANS — The servers of a new national security firm that specializes in providing cybersecurity services for the federal government are still under federal fire.
New Orleans-based cybersecurity firm Cellebrite is facing accusations that its executives used an outdated, insecure software to launch a highly sophisticated and destructive cyberattack on the New Orleans Department of Homeland Security in November.
But the Department of Justice said Wednesday that it has no evidence of wrongdoing and is investigating whether Cellebite employees improperly accessed or compromised government systems.
Cellebrites chief executive, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., has denied any wrongdoing.
He has also said the company is cooperating with the Justice Department.
The Justice Department said that while it has not substantiated the allegations made by Cellea, it has launched an investigation into the matter.
Kennedy said in a statement Wednesday that the company will cooperate fully with the investigation.
The New Orleans City Council last month voted unanimously to hire Cellebaison to run its citywide cybersecurity services.
Cellebara is the parent company of Celleco Systems, which provides security services to more than 100 government agencies in the U.S. and Canada.
Cearbites chief technology officer, Mike Hirsch, has also been named to lead the city’s cybersecurity efforts.
But Cellebraith has been criticized by some of the citys own elected officials for its cybersecurity failings.
A former city council member, former U.N. ambassador and New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin, criticized Cellebowess security failings in a March 27 letter to Celleebite’s CEO.
“We were not given adequate training and information on what to do when the system failed,” Nagin wrote.
“We had no access to the information required to detect and correct the problems.”
In an email to The Associated Press, Cellebianys president, Robert Kennedy, called the letter “patently false.”
He said Cellebiaion has a “long history of transparency” with the public and that the public is fully aware of its cybersecurity efforts.
“We have made significant investments in cybersecurity and cybersecurity readiness,” Kennedy said.
“This includes the recent acquisition of a state-of-the-art and secure data center, as well as the deployment of the world’s most advanced cloud services.”
He said the city has been on “a rapid path to cybersecurity excellence.”
The city has spent more than $2.5 billion to upgrade its cyber security, Kennedy said, adding that the city also has increased its investment in the private sector and has “made significant investments” in training and cybersecurity.
He did not specify which private sector firms had participated in the purchase.
The city, a predominantly African-American city with a large African- American population, is among a handful of cities in the country that have adopted a policy to prevent cyberattacks, and some of those cities have been under scrutiny for their efforts to prevent breaches.
Kenneth said the purchase of the New York-based Cellebe was a major investment in cybersecurity.
He said CelaBite was in the process of buying two more companies in the cybersecurity space and that its future plans were not clear.
The company will be working with the City of New Orleans and the state to develop an enhanced and more secure digital infrastructure for the city, Kennedy added.