Suffolk County’s information technology systems are still crippled due to a cyberattack county officials became aware of on Thursday.
County Executive Steve Bellone said during a news conference today county officials and outside experts have been working around the clock to ensure that critical infrastructure is preserved, personal information is secured and important government functions and systems remain operational.
The county executives did not say where and to what extent any intrusion was made and whether personal information was compromised.
The county took “aggressive measures out of an abundance of caution” to mitigate impacts of the attack and to “safely identify the source of the intrusion with the goal of eradicating it and securing our systems,” Bellone said. That included shutting town the county’s website at suffolkcountyny.gov and disabling the county’s email system.
“We have detected malware and it has the hallmarks of ransomware,” Bellone said. “We have not concluded that it is ransomware,” he said. The investigation is ongoing.
County employees remain without email access, the county executive said.
The county’s 911 system did not go down and remains up and running, Bellone said.
“The Suffolk County Police Department has partnered with the New York State Police to ensure a seamless continuity of services,” he said.
N.Y. State Police assisted the county by providing emergency responders with telecommunication equipment and internet access, Bellone said. The county police department is processing arrests, including fingerprinting, at State Police barracks. County police are also relying on State Police to run data during traffic stops, including checking licenses and registrations and arrest records.
Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller said due to the county’s problems, the Riverhead Police Department also has to run fingerprints at the State Police barracks in Riverside. The local police department also has to rely on fax machines to send arrest files to the district attorney’s office for pre-charge clearance required for felony charges.
Though Riverhead Police radio communications use the county’s system, local police communications have not been disrupted in any way, Hegermiller said.
Riverhead Police officers can run data during traffic stops because Riverhead uses the state’s system, not the county’s, Hegermiller said.
Bellone said the county’s 311 call center remains operational to assist residents with questions or issues. The county IT department is planning to launch a “temporary landing page” to provide a directory of departmental phone numbers and a listing of a number of county emails that can be used by the public to contact county services.
The county disruption has affected some private enterprise as well. Title companies cannot access records online and some title closings have been impacted because title companies cannot conduct real-time title search updates.
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