A breach of the city's Law Department has prevented government lawyers from accessing papers and may have exposed sensitive personnel information of thousands of employees.
City Government Confirms the Hacking Incident
In a recently published article in the Daily News, the New York City administration announced on Monday that it was looking into "unauthorized access to the NYC Law Department's IT infrastructure."
Laura Feyer, a spokeswoman for Mayor de Blasio, said also on Monday that the city's cyber command immediately launched an investigation into the hacking incident. She added that the city has taken further precautions to ensure security, including restricting access to the Law Department's network at this time, according to a published article in ABC7.
The department promotes itself as one of the largest legal offices in the country, with over 1,000 attorneys on staff. They handle everything from litigation against the mayor and the city to contracts, as well as legislative formulation and approval.
De Blasio Released a Statement
According to a published report in MSN News, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said, "From what I know at this moment, no information has been compromised that we know of nor an attempt to achieve a ransom."
The Mayor also added that they will have additional information as the situation develops, but for now, they know that defenses have been held and that law department materials have not been exposed and compromised.
According to Feyer, city cyber-defense employees discovered the attack on Saturday night, and no ransom was demanded. Details of the incident, including who carried it out, were not immediately available.
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How Did It All Start?
The person, who requested anonymity because they were not allowed to discuss the situation, stated that they got an email notification telling them that their login information has been hijacked. At least six other coworkers received the same email.
According to the Law Department employee, the agency's computer system contains a wide range of sensitive information. A person familiar with the matter described the event as "a severe cyber delay or shutdown that is taking place."
The incident at the Law Department comes less than a week after Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials announced that hackers with suspected links to the Chinese government hacked at least three of the agency's computer systems in April. According to authorities, the transit agency hack did not jeopardize the running of New York's public transport networks.
Other Cyber Attacks
The national infrastructure was also the subject of big attacks last month. A cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline disrupted gas deliveries and sparked panic purchasing in the Southeast. In a second incident, the country's largest meat-processing firm was attacked.
Earlier this year, hackers used the so-called "SolarWinds attack" to gain access to at least nine governmental agencies and countless private organizations, making it one of the largest such assaults in history.
According to Rep. Ritchie Torres, who recently urged for President Biden's infrastructure plan to include millions for communities to improve cybersecurity, the city administration should have been more forthright about the Law Department intrusion.