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‘Ransomware-Type Attack’ Continues to Impact Bucks County’s CAD System | #ransomware | #cybercrime


With Bucks County’s computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system out
of service due to a cyberattack as of Wednesday, few details on what exactly
happened, when the key system may be restored, and who did it have been made
public.

Bucks County officials have acknowledged the outage and
stressed that the 9-1-1 system remains operational.

A source with knowledge of the incident said a
“ransomware-type attack” was to blame for the outage. Due to security concerns,
the person declined to say more. What the ransom request was or if officials
have been in contact with the attacker remained unknown.

On Wednesday morning, Bucks County spokesperson James
O’Malley said he had no new information to share.

“I want both the public and our first responder partners to
know that our 9-1-1 system is up and running – If you call us for an
emergency response, our dispatchers will get you the help you need,” Bucks
County Emergency Services Director Audrey Kenny said in a statement. “The
county has partnered with state and federal agencies and has retained
best-in-class incident response professionals to assist in our ongoing
investigation.” 

The county’s CAD system went down Sunday afternoon. No timeline for
restoration has been relayed to police agencies, fire companies, and ambulance
squads.

Sources in local agencies, who have talked with county
staff, have said attorneys for county government advised staff not to speak
about the incident, which is the focus of a federal law enforcement
investigation.

FBI Special Agent Ned Conway told LevittownNow.comNewtownPANow.com,
and NewHopeFreePress.com that he was unable to comment on
whether or not an investigation exists. The Bucks County District Attorney’s
Office referred comment on the matter to county government officials.

Law enforcement sources said the Pennsylvania National Guard
is involved in restoration and response operation. The state military agency
has soldiers trained to respond to cyberattacks.

Sources have said there is no indication as of Tuesday
afternoon that other county systems have been compromised.

The CAD is used by dispatchers, 9-1-1-call-takers, and
responders to input and broadcast addresses and unfolding information on
incidents. The information goes to crews in the field and helps determine what
units are dispatched.

The outage has impacted local law enforcement agencies, fire
companies, and ambulance squads, including in-vehicle computers and apps that
alert responders of active calls. The Pennsylvania State Police use their own
system separate of the county’s CAD.

Local police officials have said departmental data systems,
which are separate from the county’s CAD, remain operational.

The officials, who didn’t wish to be identified due to the
sensitive nature of the situation, said access to statewide and federal law
enforcement databases had been limited, but county dispatchers and many police
stations continue to have access.

Patrol officers across Bucks County are back to using pen
and pencil to track call times, addresses, information, and additional notes.
Those paper records have to be retained by departments as potential evidence in
criminal cases.

A source close to the county 9-1-1 operation said an Excel
spreadsheet and handwritten notes are being used as backups by call-takers and
dispatchers at the Bucks County 9-1-1 Center in Ivyland Borough.

One police official said frustrations among younger officers
used to relying on the CAD were showing through by Tuesday.

Several firefighters said dispatches have been slowed due to
the more manual process of getting information on calls. 9-1-1 staff must
manually sort out what companies are set to respond and alert fire stations of
a call.

However, one fire chief said he didn’t believe the situation
was severely impacting public safety or response times in a meaningful way, but
he said it certainly was creating a hassle for all involved.

Many local police and fire officials did commend 9-1-1
center and county staff for their efforts during a difficult situation.

The county runs its 9-1-1 operation out of Ivyland Borough
and handles calls for more than 130 agencies.

See also:

Bucks
County Controller’s Office Returns More Than $427,000 In Unclaimed Funds

Bucks
County 7-Eleven Sells $450,000 Winning Lottery Ticket

Jennifer
Schorn Sworn-In as New District Attorney for Bucks County

Bucks
County Commissioners Revise Public Comment Policy, Limiting Time for Speakers

Former
District Attorney Matt Weintraub Sworn In as Common Pleas Judge



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