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IT director for former Suffolk clerk says he rose red flags ahead of countywide cyberattack

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone's office disputed Peter Schlussler's testimony.

Krista McNally

Jun 16, 2023, 4:49 PM

Updated 367 days ago

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Suffolk County officials are still trying to get to the bottom of a cyberattack that shut down services for months and cost the county millions.
The cyberattack was the topic of the Cyber Attack Investigation Committee meeting Friday morning at the Suffolk Legislature.
Peter Schlussler, the technology director for the former county clerk, spoke at the meeting.
Schlussler was blamed by the county executive for failing to implement security upgrades that could have prevented the attack.
"I was glad to have my opportunity to speak to the world and talk about the truth," said Schlussler.
Schlussler was removed from his office in December, but says he raised concerns about dozens of red flag security notifications.
"If a chief information security officer and a cyberattack remediation plan were in place, we would not be here today," said Schlussler.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone's office disputed Schlussler's testimony.
In a statement, a spokesperson says, "Today, the former clerk IT administrator lied before a legislative committee, and acknowledged his office was the source of the cyberattack after his boss previously insisted that it wasn't and failed to address or refute any of the detailed evidence from the forensic examination."
As News 12 has reported, Suffolk experienced a massive cyberattack that lasted months.
The county's computer system was accessed in December 2021, and the hack happened Sept. 8, 2022. Much of the county's web applications were down until February 2023.
The hackers had access to the county's networks through the clerk's system and sensitive data was stolen, according to officials.
Legislator Kevin McCaffery says the blame falls on several entities and there are plenty of places they are looking into to make improvements in the future to ensure a cyber intrusion does not happen again.


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