‘It was only a matter of time’ – Suffolk County clerk says she raised concerns before massive hack
A special bipartisan committee will hold hearings “probing the cause and response” of the ransomware attack that stole the personal information of as many as 470,000 Suffolk County residents.
Suffolk County Clerk Judith Pascale told News 12 that she warned Suffolk County officials in January that a cyberattack could happen. She brought her concerns to the Ways and Means Committee and asked them to install more computer security and more substantial firewall protection. She says the firewall protection in place during the attack wasn't enough for a government entity.
"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.’"
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.
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.
Presiding Officer Kevin McCaffrey is expected to make the announcement of the committee formation and its members during a news conference Monday morning. It will be chaired by Legislator Anthony Piccirillo and will have subpoena powers for testimony.
According to a release:
“The committee will review how tax dollars were used to protect the county’s information, the response to the attack, the steps taken to protect residents whose personal information was compromised and what is being done to prevent future attacks.”
The attack occurred on Sept. 8. The county has admitted that “the personal information of as many as 470,000 residents and 26,000 past and current employees has been stolen by the hackers.”