Suffolk County Back Online Months After Cyberattack

suffolk county cyberattack
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Suffolk County Back Online Months After Cyberattack

The Suffolk County website is back online nearly six months after its systems were shut down due to a cyberattack on Sept. 8, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced on Friday.

The county website is up and running again, including most county forms and applications, while others will be restored by next week. During the time they were offline, cyber security experts conducted a thorough investigation tracing the intrusion back to the county clerk’s office. 

“After these extensive efforts, I am very happy to announce, thanks to the partnership and leadership in the county clerk’s office, that while work still remains, the clerk’s office has been deemed clean and we are able to start to restore online services beginning with the county website,” Bellone said. “All users in the clerk’s office will now have access to email and the clerk’s office will now be able to connect to other domains.”

Suffolk County cyberattack
Officials released this email the Suffolk County clerk’s former IT director sent days before the Suffolk cyberattack (Suffolk County executive’s office)

An investigation of the cyberattack concluded that cyber criminals entered the county’s online system through the former county clerk’s IT environment in December 2021. About eight months later, the hackers found credentials that gave them access to the larger county IT environment, and the cyberattack occurred about two weeks later.

Every IT environment in the county was deemed clean by Oct. 17, 2022, except for the county clerk’s, Bellone said, noting that the county’s IT department found significant issues with the firewall system in the clerk’s office.

“These delays have been extremely costly to the taxpayers of this county,” Bellone said. “The good news is we have made significant progress in the past seven weeks.”

Bellone said that most online forms have been restored, and more will be restored by next week, calling it a “rolling restoration.”

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