Ransomware Attack Forces New Jersey County to Use Paper Records

Colin Thierry
Colin Thierry Writer
Colin Thierry Colin Thierry Writer

A ransomware attack on the Somerset County government in New Jersey froze email communications and forced staff to use paper records for some services.

In a notice posted to its news site last week, county officials said a ransomware attack impacted its email system, and forced a Board of Commissioners meeting to be postponed.

“With the exception of email, the county is performing most normal functions. That said, we have activated our Emergency Operations Center and our Continuity of Operations of Government Plan,” said County Administrator Colleen Mahr. “It is our assumption that this situation will remain in effect at least for the rest of the week.”

Somerset said on the next day that county offices and buildings remained open for business while investigators gauged the severity of the attack. The updated notice added that “network-linked computers remain turned off, and county emails cannot be received or responded to by county personnel.”

Additionally, it was revealed that clerk and surrogate services depending on access to county databases remained unavailable. This is because title searches were only possible on paper records dating back to before 1977.

“We are working hard to ensure vital services the public depends on continue to be delivered, such as recycling, road maintenance, and transportation for seniors,” county administrator Mahr said in the updated notice. “We have an outstanding IT department that is working around the clock to evaluate our situation, prevent further damage, and ultimately recover.”

Currently, the Somerset County Clerk’s office is still unable to provide some services that require internet access.

About the Author

About the Author

Colin Thierry is a former cybersecurity researcher and journalist for SafetyDetectives who has written a wide variety of content for the web over the past 2 years. In his free time, he enjoys spending time outdoors, traveling, watching sports, and playing video games.

Leave a Comment