Tuesday 8 June 2021

FBI investigates ANOTHER cyber attack, this time at NYC Law Department: City officials disable computer network in legal offices after finding ransomware that is commonly used by foreign governments

 The FBI is investigating a cyber attack that took out the New York City Law Department on  Monday and forced city officials to disable the computer network in its legal offices. 

On Monday, officials detected a cyber attack and ransomware that is commonly used by foreign governments. 

They disabled the entire network to try to protect data.   

It's unclear who is responsible for the attack or if they asked for a ransom - like the Colonial Pipeline hackers did - but the issue appears to have been resolved. 

The Law Department serves as a part of the city government. It is the legal department where lawyers on behalf of the city work, litigating civil cases and filing their own court files. 

Around 1,000 lawyers work there and the agency holds the sensitive information of countless other government employees 

'All the agencies come through us. We have everyone’s information,' one staffer, who first revealed the hack to The New York Daily News, said.  

The NYC Law Department's HQ at 100 Church Street, near City Hall.  The department handles all of the city's legal affairs

The NYC Law Department's HQ at 100 Church Street, near City Hall.  The department handles all of the city's legal affairs 

The incident is the latest in a string of worrying cyber attacks on the US which experts say continues to prove how fragile the country's online security is. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday night he did not believe there had been a ransom, and that he doesn't think any data was stolen but that the situation was still 'emerging'.   

'We’ll have more to say as we get more information. 

'So far we believe the defenses have held and the Law Department’s information was not compromised,' he told NY1. 

The deliberate outage meant that lawyers couldn't file court records for the day, or access cases.

It comes as another cyber attack- this time on members of Congress - emerged. 

The target was iConstituent, a tech vendor that provides constituent outreach services to dozens of House offices, including a newsletter service that allows lawmakers to communicate with residents in their districts and a service to track constituent casework. 

It's the latest cyber attack after a series of hacks against the US executive branch and American companies have left many institutions feeling vulnerable and the Biden administration struggling to deal with the situation.

The Office of the Chief Administrative Officer, which handles IT security for the House of Representatives, said there was 'no impact' on overall House data and it was working with the company to resolve the situation.

'At this time, the CAO is not aware of any impact to House data. The CAO is coordinating with the impacted offices supported by iConstituent and has taken measures to ensure that the attack does not affect the House network and offices' data,' the office said in a statement. 

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