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Suffolk County employees union negotiating security following ransomware attack

The longer the federal shutdown lasts, the more likely security breaches of government websites become, cyber specialists say. And it could lead to security problems long after the government reopens.
Sarayut Thaneerat
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Getty Images/EyeEm

Negotiations for stronger cyber security policies are underway between Suffolk County and a union that represents approximately 6,000 of its workers.

Suffolk County reported on Sept. 8 that its government computer system was the target of a major ransomware attack. Employees, including union members, were urged not to use their personal devices to connect to the computer system, including email and payroll.

“Once county-issued devices have been deemed safe and secure, employees have been able to resume use,” a Suffolk County spokesperson said in a statement.

While employees wait for more systems to be restored, some union members said they are left without access to resources, including personnel records, pay stubs and email. It also means that they may not be able to access large electronic files and contacts, which may prevent them from doing their jobs efficiently.

Daniel Levler, who is president of the Suffolk Association of Municipal Employees, told Newsday that they will ask for cyber insurance policies to protect workers and their personal information.

He said the union has reached agreements to “expedite overtime for workers working around the clock to secure our [information technology] systems.”

Emily is a news intern at WSHU for the fall of 2022.