4 Republicans, 2 Democrats named to special Suffolk cyberattack committee
A bipartisan panel of Suffolk lawmakers will have subpoena powers in their probe of cause and reaction to a malware attack.
Six members are set to hold hearings on the attack, which has greatly affected the function of the county's government and exposed the personal info of as many as 470,000 Suffolk County residents.
MORE: ‘It was only a matter of time’ – Suffolk County clerk says she raised concerns before massive hack
The committee will include four Republicans — Legislator Anthony Piccirillo (R-8th District), Presiding Officer Kevin McCaffrey (R-14th District), Legislator James Mazzarella (R-3rd District) and Legislator Robert Trotta (R-13th District). The committee's two Democrats are Minority Leader Jason Richberg (D-15th District) and Legislator Sarah S. Anker (D-6th District).
The initial attack happened in September in what officials called the worst data breach and cyberattack in the county's history.
"The purpose of this committee is to do one thing, and one thing only, and that is to find out what happened and how we can prevent that from happening again," McCaffrey said.
Piccirillo said the committee will follow the facts and conduct a thorough investigation that Suffolk County residents deserve.
The attack could cost Suffolk County over $20 million and years to fix.
Suffolk County Clerk Judith Pascale told News 12 that she alerted the county executive's office that a cyberattack was imminent as early as January but that nothing was done.
She also said she tried to increase computer security and firewall protection but that it was tabled multiple times.
"It was only a matter of time. And that's why we should have taken the precautions," said Pascale. "People looked at me like I was crazy...I said, 'When this happens, it's going to be devastating.'"
The committee will meet with legal counsel, IT experts and any witnesses they choose to subpoena starting in January.
A county IT expert who asked not to be named told News 12 it took about five hours to shut down more than 600 servers during the Sept. 8 hack.
The committee will also look into how much personal information was exposed in that amount of time.
A county spokesperson told News 12 that the county took aggressive measures on Sept. 8 to contain the cyberattack and that the county hired a leading forensic team to determine what happened.
A spokesperson from County Executive Steve Bellone's office says they applaud the legislature's bipartisan review of the cyberattack and that individuals engaging in speculation prior to the completion of the investigation are acting in a self-serving and irresponsible manner.