Chenango County, N.Y., Computers Hit with Ransomware Attack

Chenango County, N.Y., Computers Hit with Ransomware Attack

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(TNS) — A cyberattack on Chenango County authorities computer systems just isn’t anticipated to intervene with common operations, together with elections, in accordance with county officers.

About half of the county’s 400 computer systems had been discovered locked Sunday, Oct. 18, after an obvious ransomware assault, in accordance with Herman Ericksen, director of data know-how.

The attackers — seemingly based mostly in Hong Kong, in accordance with an investigation by the New York state Division of Homeland Safety — are demanding $450 for the discharge of every machine, Ericksen stated, totaling round $90,000.

“We’re not going to pay that,” Ericksen stated. “There’s numerous these assaults going round.”

The assault primarily focused the county’s electronic mail system and was seemingly compromised by a distant login, the usage of which has considerably elevated because the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Ericksen stated.

In his almost 35 years with the division, Ericksen stated he had by no means seen a cyberattack of this nature earlier than.

The assault affected computer systems in each division besides the sheriff’s workplace and social companies, which rely totally on impartial networks, in accordance with Ericksen. The Division of Motor Automobiles was not affected and stays practical.

With the presidential election lower than three weeks away on the time of the assault and early voting beginning in simply six days, the Board of Elections was the county’s first precedence to get again on-line, Ericksen stated.

Poll counters, ballot pads and ballot-on-demand printers thus far stay practical, in accordance with Democratic Elections Commissioner Carol Franklin, so the Board of Elections is continuous to just accept absentee ballots and people accomplished in-person via early voting, however the division can not course of or produce any studies besides the variety of ballots it has acquired.

The assault would have been inconvenient throughout any election 12 months, Franklin stated, however the issue was compounded by the document quantity of ballots coming in for this 12 months’s presidential race.

Whereas about 2,000 Chenango County voters submit absentee ballots in a median election 12 months, the county has already acquired effectively over 5,000, Franklin stated.

“It’s a nightmare for us,” Franklin stated. “We simply want our computer systems again.”

Whereas the pc system is being rebuilt from backup variations, county workers are counting on paper information and different workarounds, Ericksen stated.

Every occasion’s workplace is padlocked, and absentee ballots are being stored “underneath lock and key,” Franklin stated.

The New York state Board of Elections is aiding within the ballot-counting course of and “verifying every little thing,” Franklin stated. “All of them know what is going on on.”

Franklin assured voters that Chenango County’s election outcomes won’t be compromised because of the cyberattack.

“There is not any bogus stuff happening,” she stated. “It is simply delaying what we are able to do, timewise, however it’ll all get performed. The voters have to trust — they actually do.”

©2020 The Every day Star, Distributed by Tribune Content material Company, LLC.

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