What you should know
- A cyber attack prevented Suffolk County officials from doing their jobs as computers in police departments and traffic courts were blocked on Tuesday.
- County officials are investigating the duration of the server failure, but have taken the computer systems offline in an attempt to preserve the information.
- Meanwhile, the state police helped provide the emergency services with “telecommunications, Internet access and enable them to process arrests at the state police headquarters.”
“We have detected a flaw and it has the characteristics of a data hijacking, but the investigation at this time has not concluded that it is such an incident,” said Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone. It is unclear whether this is a data ransom, because no ransom was detected.
County officials are investigating the duration of the server failure, but have taken the computer systems offline in an attempt to preserve the information.
“I got a preliminary subpoena and was told the systems were down,” Anthony Saenz told our sister station NBC 4 New York outside the courthouse. “I have to be back, like, in 10 days. I talked to the officer and they said they’ll probably be out of service longer.”
Cyber intrusion prevented people from paying fines, taxes, and even prevented the police department from using their computers.
“The troops are also helping us manage traffic stop data, such as license plates, arrest history, warrants, VIN numbers, stolen cars, etc.,” Bellone said.
Suffolk County officials say they have prepared for such an intrusion in the past and by taking the network offline, they may have prevented further damage. They believe more attacks like these can be expected.
“Of [2020 a 2021] we have seen a 140% increase in ransomware attacks, “said Michael Balboni of Redland Strategies.” Why cyber attacks? Because that’s where the money is. “
The county says it will create a temporary county website so residents can access important information.
It is unclear how long it will take before everything gets back online.