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New York City Law Department hit by cyberattack

New York City Law Department hit by cyberattack

NEW YORK—The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is investigating yet another cyberattack, as the New York City Law Department’s computer network was forced to shut down over the weekend due to the work of hackers.

The city’s Cyber Command first detected the breach on Saturday, June 5, which forced officials to disable the Law Department’s computer the next day after it was determined that a cyberattack had taken place.

There is no indication at this point that private or sensitive data was taken in the breach, or that any ransom was requested, according to city officials, but the FBI’s cyber task force and the NYC Police Department are still investigating.

New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio called the Law Department cyberattack an “emerging situation” during an appearance on the NY1 News program Inside City Hall on Monday night.

“We're still tracking down exactly who was behind it,” he said. “Our City, it has a very strong cyber defense. Our Cyber Command is based on taking the lessons we've learned nationally, public sector, private sector, very experienced operatives in that part of the City government who are focusing on defending City interests constantly. From what I know at this moment, investigation underway, but at this moment, no information has been compromised that we know of, nor an attempt to achieve a ransom. We'll have more to say as we get more information, but so far, we believe the defenses have held and the Law Department information was not compromised.”

The New York City Law Department is responsible for all legal affairs of the City. It represents the City, the Mayor, other elected officials, and the City's many agencies in all affirmative and defensive civil litigation, as well as juvenile delinquency prosecutions brought in Family Court and Administrative Code enforcement proceedings brought in Criminal Court.

In addition, Law Department attorneys draft and review local and State legislation, real estate leases, procurement contracts, and financial instruments for the sale of municipal bonds. The Department also provides legal counsel to City officials on a wide range of issues such as immigration, education, and environmental policy.

The NYC Law Department cyberattack comes just two months after it was announced that computer systems for the NYC Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) were hacked by a group reportedly believed to have connections to the Chinese government. MTA officials said there was no evidence that the breach involved transit operations and that its security system prevented unauthorized access to other parts of the MTA's internal systems.

In addition, the U.S. has suffered two crippling cyberattacks to its critical infrastructure in the last month. Colonial Pipeline was the victim of a devastating ransomware attack on May 6 at the hands of DarkSide in what was arguably the largest cyberattack against critical infrastructure in U.S. history. The ransomware attack shut off the country’s largest fuel pipeline - delivery of an estimated 45 percent of fuel consumed on the East Coast - for nearly one week before resuming fuel delivery on May 12.

Two weeks ago, another devastating ransomware attack crippled the world’s largest meat supplier, JBS USA, affecting servers supporting its North American and Australian IT systems. The cyberattack, which the FBI announced was orchestrated by Russian-based hacker group REvil, forced JBS to suspend operations at all U.S. plants until resuming operations on June 2. 


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