A major cyber attack on the Suffolk County government back in September has prompted their neighboring county to partner with a cyber security firm for extra support according to resolution from the Rules Committee of the Nassau County Legislature.
On Dec. 5, the committee voted unanimously to approve a contract related to cybersecurity services for Nassau County.
“Every member of the Minority Caucus remains intently focused on advancing comprehensive strategies for addressing the cybersecurity threats that Nassau County faces on a daily basis,” said William Biamonte, Chief of Staff for the Minority Caucus of the Nassau County Legislature. “We will continue working toward the implementation of additional common-sense cybersecurity best practices that will benefit all Nassau residents.”
On Sept. 8, Suffolk County was thrusted back to the 90s thanks to a cybersecurity attack from an unknown source. This compromised the license numbers of 470,000 and 26,000 social security numbers belonging to county employees and retirees.
The intrusion affected several county services including 911. Operators had to write down information by hand and were unable to use geolocation technology. The system was restored fully two weeks after the attack. County emails were also affected.
The hack also affected this year’s midterm elections. Around 450,000 election results for local, state and federal races were held up due to an unexpected wi-fi outage related to the attack said Suffolk County Republican Party Chairman Jesse Garcia to Newsday.
“It was only a matter of time,” said Suffolk County Clerk Judith Pascale to News 12. It was reported that Pascale along with County Comptroller John Kennedy and other department heads expressed concerns and a need to fund and improve Suffolk’s security months before the attack.
“I felt like nobody was listening or they didn’t take it as seriously as I was making it,” said Pascale. “Witness the fact it was tabled three times in committee and then it was rejected” by the county’s IT committee. “I couldn’t impress upon people enough that this could be devastating, and guess what? It’s devastating.”
Suffolk County Spokeswoman Marykate Guilfoyle said the following in emails obtained by Newsday.
“While continuing to manage this serious cyber incident, the county will not be distracted by irresponsible and erroneous speculation,” wrote Guilfoyle. “Our focus remains on completing the forensic examination, which is part of a larger criminal investigation, while continuing to provide the critical services our residents rely on.”
The name of the firm Nassau is contracting out to has not been named. As far as Suffolk’s response, they are offering free identity protection services to those affected. A special committee has also been formed to further investigate the perpetrators of the attack.
Legis. Kevin McCaffrey (R), James Mazzarella (R), Rob Trotta (R), Jason Richberg (D), the minority leader and Sarah Anker (D) will be on the committee. They are expected to begin meeting in 2023.
If you were issued moving violations by county police in the towns of Babylon, Brookhaven, Huntington, Islip and Smithtown between 2013 and Sept. 8, 2022 you could be compromised. Anyone who presented a driver’s license or passport at the Traffic and Parking Violations Agency in Hauppauge during that period when paying via credit card for traffic and parking violations could be compromised as well.
If you were affected, you can access protection free services here.