F.B.I. Investigates Cyberattack That Targeted N.Y.C. Law Department

An early clue that one thing was amiss with the computer systems at New York City’s Law Department — the 1,000-lawyer company that represents town in court docket — emerged on Monday when a lawyer for the division wrote to a federal decide in Manhattan, asking for a brief delay in submitting court docket papers due to “connectivity” issues.

“No one is currently able to log on to the Law Department’s computer system,” the lawyer, Katherine J. Weall, wrote.

Later within the day, metropolis officers revealed the reason for the issue: They had been pressured to disable the Law Department’s pc community on Sunday afternoon after detecting a cyberattack. That assault is now below investigation by the intelligence bureau of the New York Police Department and the F.B.I.’s cyber activity power, the officers mentioned.

Mayor Bill de Blasio mentioned throughout a NY1 tv look on Monday night that metropolis officers weren’t conscious of any data being compromised or a ransom demand. But he cautioned that the state of affairs was “emerging.”

“We’ll have more to say as we get more information,” he mentioned. “So far we believe the defenses have held and the Law Department’s information was not compromised.”

The hack was first reported by The Daily News.

It remained unclear on Monday who was behind it or what the hackers’ objective was, in keeping with a metropolis official briefed on the incident. The official mentioned that the kind of ransomware used is usually deployed by felony teams and hackers related to overseas governments. .

City officers mentioned that they had disconnected the Law Department computer systems from town’s bigger community on Sunday afternoon.

The assault comes because the United States authorities and companies have raised alarm about latest ransomware assaults on such targets as a vital fuel pipeline, the world’s largest meat processor and the police division in Washington, D.C. The White House warned American companies final week to take pressing safety steps to protect towards ransomware assaults, and in a printed interview, Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, likened the ransomware menace to that posed by world terrorism after the Sept. 11, 2001, assaults.

Hackers use ransomware to interrupt into authorities and personal pc networks. Once inside, they’ll lock out the house owners or steal knowledge that’s used to demand a ransom. The frequency of assaults has risen during the last a number of years.

Concerns a couple of doable assault first arose on Saturday night, when town’s Cyber Command detected uncommon exercise on the Law Department’s pc community, in keeping with the official briefed on the incident. The command is a unit Mr. de Blasio created by govt order in 2017 to defend town’s pc programs.

Nicholas Paolucci, a Law Department spokesman, mentioned the company was taking steps “to ensure there was minimal impact to cases” and to maintain the division’s features shifting ahead.

The impact on different metropolis companies remained unclear on Monday. “Until we understand the full breadth of breach we’re trying to move cautiously,” mentioned Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for the state court docket system, the place the Law Department represents town in lawsuits.