New York’s Albany County investigating ‘cybersecurity breach’ ahead of holiday weekend

 

Authorities in the state capital region of New York have launched an investigation into a cyberattack detected just before the Memorial Day weekend.

Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy informed Recorded Future News that they are collaborating with the state Division of Homeland Security and the Emergency Services Cyber Incident Response Team after identifying a potential issue within county networks.

“We are currently looking into a possible cybersecurity breach,” McCoy stated. “Online requests for certificates of residency are temporarily unavailable. Individuals needing assistance can contact the Division of Finance. As far as we know, there has been no data exfiltration.”

Despite numerous follow-up inquiries, the county has not provided details regarding the onset of the incident, whether it constitutes a ransomware attack, or if federal law enforcement agencies will be enlisted for support.

The cyberattack, initially reported by the Times Union newspaper, impacts a county with over 310,000 residents. The Times Union highlighted previous ransomware attacks on the local airport, a 911 dispatch center, and the city of Albany between 2019 and 2021.

Just last month, the statehouse fell victim to a ransomware group targeting systems used by New York’s legislature for bill drafting and printing.

Cybersecurity has become a focal point for the governor since a severe attack on one of the state’s affluent counties in 2021. Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced revisions to state cybersecurity regulations, mandating that regulated entities report ransomware payments and enhance measures to safeguard customer data.

In a bid to bolster cybersecurity, Governor Hochul appointed Colin Ahern, a former company commander at the U.S. Army Cyber Brigade, as the state’s inaugural chief cyber officer in June 2022. Additionally, an extra $35 million was allocated to the state’s $61.9 million cybersecurity budget last year.

Despite these efforts, ransomware assailants continue to target county and city governments across the United States. The city of St. Helena in California and Macon-Bibb County in Georgia are still recovering from incidents this month alone.

Ransomware expert Brett Callow has identified at least 45 local governments affected by ransomware attacks this year.

Source: therecord.media

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