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Suffolk County moves its online services to temporary website following cyberattack

Cybersecurity Ransomware Reward
Jenny Kane
/
AP
This February 2019 file photo shows the inside of a computer.

Suffolk County has launched a temporary landing page for its online services after a cybersecurity attack was identified last week.

County Executive Steve Bellone said email and other web-based services were taken offline following an alert of unusual activity. He said the decision was made to contain any cyber intrusion, “out of an abundance of caution.”

“We have detected malware and that it has the hallmarks of ransomware,” he said. “But the investigation at this point has not concluded that this is a ransomware incident.

The county's websites remained down on Tuesday, and some departments were using personal email and cellphones to communicate with the public. The temporary landing page will allow residents to continue to access county department services and contact information while county systems are restored.

The Suffolk County Police Department will also temporarily receive help from New York State Police to access telecommunications and internet access to respond to 9-1-1 emergencies.

Critical public safety operations have been maintained, according to Bellone.

Suffolk County police officers will do live scans at state police barracks, including fingerprinting. Troopers will also help run data during traffic stops, such as running plates, identifying arrest history, warrants, VIN numbers and stolen cars.

“The reality that we are all living in today is that we are in this digital age. We are in the information age,” Bellone said. “The notion of hacking — your computer has been around for a long time — but the sophistication with which threat actors are operating grows every single day as this technology evolves.”

“And unfortunately, no organization, public or private, is immune from these types of cyber intrusions.”

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.