Hackers target Schuyler Co. 911 center, system temporarily disrupted

SCHUYLER COUNTY, NY (WENY) — Roughly two weeks ago, Schuyler County officials say hackers were able to gain access to the communications system for the whole county. The mode of access is now being investigated on a state and federal level.

“The New York State Cyber Security, in conjunction with the FBI, are conducting a very detailed forensic analysis to determine both the cause and origin of the attack. We do know that it was a brute force attack from the outside into the system,” says County Administrator Tim O’Hearn.

O’Hearn explains that the county had anti-virus and anti-malware protection, but he was told this was a very sophisticated attack.

“We certainly are revisiting our security as a result of this. We are rebuilding all of our files, all of our servers and incorporating the latest protection and
malware protection devices in that process,” O’Hearn says.

One concern during the hack was the 911 center. While it was a victim during the attack, O’Hearn says the county was still able to receive and dispatch calls that were made.

“911, as well as every county office, remained functional throughout the whole event, and continues to do so. Some of the enhanced 911 features, such as mapping, were disrupted and that is being restored. But it is important to note that at no time was public safety ever at risk as a result of this,” O’Hearn explains.

While the investigation remains ongoing, O’Hearn says the experts tell him, no personal information was stolen.

“We, also, have been assured at this point in the investigation that there was no breach of data. It really was a malware attempt to monetize the system.”

O’Hearn tells WENY News is an indication as to the origin of the attack, but he can’t comment on the findings of the investigation, so far.

WENY News will continue to follow this developing story and bring you any updates and new information becomes available.