FBI investigates cyber attack on New York City's Law Department computer network

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 hack was detected at the NYC Law Department on Monday morning
  • City officials disabled the computer network to try to contain its data
  • Sources say ransomware was detected that is commonly used by foreign governments and criminal hackers
  • They didn’t say what the ransomware is
  • It’s unclear if the hackers asked for a ransom like the Colonial Pipeline hackers
  • NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday he doesn’t think data was compromised but information is ’emerging’ 
  • It comes as another cyber attack- this time on members of Congress  – emerged

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 but they have not yet asked for a ransom, like the Colonial Pipeline hackers did. 

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 

At a press conference on Tuesday, Jeff Brown of the Cyber Command unit at the NYPD said no ransom had been demanded, but he refused to say what the hackers’ motive was.  

‘This is not a ransom situation. Comparing this to some of the other events is not accurate. We do expect the law department to be fully reestablished properly,’ he said. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio said: ‘At this point we’re constantly investigating this. Cyber Command working with NYPD. 

‘To this hour we have not seen information compromised but this is an evolving investigation.’

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. 

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 least 60 lawmakers were left unable to access constituent data for weeks in a ransomware attack that targeted Capitol Hill

At least 60 lawmakers were left unable to access constituent data for weeks in a ransomware attack that targeted Capitol Hill

Secretary of State Tony Blinken warned that Vladimir Putin will have to answer for the ransomware attacks on US companies

Secretary of State Tony Blinken warned that Vladimir Putin will have to answer for the ransomware attacks on US companies

‘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. 

Rep. Rodney Davis, the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, told Punchbowl that he ‘understands there is some frustration at the vendor in question here.’ 

It’s unclear who was responsible for this latest attack. Russian actors were blamed for the Solarwinds attack last year, one on the Colonial Pipeline last month and the most recent attack on meat producer JBS USA. Gas and meat prices rose in the wake of the hacks.

Secretary of State Tony Blinken warned that Vladimir Putin will have to answer for the ransomware attacks when the Russian president meets with President Joe Biden next week. 

President Joe Biden

Russian President Vladimir Putin

President Joe Biden is meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva on June 16 at the end of his trip to Europe; it’s his first sit down with Putin since he was elected president

source: dailymail.co.uk