(TNS) — A cyberattack on Chenango County authorities computer systems isn’t anticipated to intrude with common operations, together with elections, in line with county officers.
About half of the county’s 400 computer systems had been discovered locked Sunday, Oct. 18, after an obvious ransomware assault, in line with Herman Ericksen, director of knowledge know-how.
The attackers — doubtless based mostly in Hong Kong, in line with an investigation by the New York state Division of Homeland Safety — are demanding $450 for the discharge of every machine, Ericksen mentioned, totaling round $90,000.
“We’re not going to pay that,” Ericksen mentioned. “There’s loads of these assaults going round.”
The assault primarily focused the county’s e-mail system and was doubtless compromised by a distant login, using which has considerably elevated for the reason that onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Ericksen mentioned.
In his almost 35 years with the division, Ericksen mentioned he had by no means seen a cyberattack of this nature earlier than.
The assault affected computer systems in each division besides the sheriff’s workplace and social providers, which rely totally on impartial networks, in line with Ericksen. The Division of Motor Automobiles was not affected and stays practical.
With the presidential election lower than three weeks away on the time of the assault and early voting beginning in simply six days, the Board of Elections was the county’s first precedence to get again on-line, Ericksen mentioned.
Poll counters, ballot pads and ballot-on-demand printers up to now stay practical, in line with Democratic Elections Commissioner Carol Franklin, so the Board of Elections is continuous to simply accept absentee ballots and people accomplished in-person by means of early voting, however the division can not course of or produce any experiences besides the variety of ballots it has acquired.
The assault would have been inconvenient throughout any election yr, Franklin mentioned, however the issue was compounded by the report quantity of ballots coming in for this yr’s presidential race.
Whereas about 2,000 Chenango County voters submit absentee ballots in a mean election yr, the county has already acquired properly over 5,000, Franklin mentioned.
“It’s a nightmare for us,” Franklin mentioned. “We simply want our computer systems again.”
Whereas the pc system is being rebuilt from backup variations, county staff are counting on paper recordsdata and different workarounds, Ericksen mentioned.
Every celebration’s workplace is padlocked, and absentee ballots are being saved “underneath lock and key,” Franklin mentioned.
The New York state Board of Elections is aiding within the ballot-counting course of and “verifying the whole lot,” Franklin mentioned. “All of them know what is going on on.”
Franklin assured voters that Chenango County’s election outcomes is not going to be compromised on account of the cyberattack.
“There isn’t any bogus stuff happening,” she mentioned. “It is simply delaying what we will do, timewise, however it’ll all get finished. The voters must believe — they actually do.”
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