New York Police Department Communication System Hacked

New York Police Department Communication System Hacked

A recent incident in upstate New York has shown that even police departments aren't immune from hacking.

A recent incident in upstate New York has shown that even police departments aren't immune from hacking.

The Schuyler County Sherriff's Department, headquartered in Watkins Glen, New York, had to get support from surrounding counties after a hacking episode temporarily crippled its 911 emergency system and ability to dispatch deputies to calls, according to Peter Kehoe, director of the New York State Sheriffs Association.

In a memo circulated by the department, Sheriff William Yessman Jr. described the breach as a "direct attack from a foreign county on our system," coming from a computer that "kept trying various passwords" until it could access the system.

Kehoe said that such incidents are an obvious concern particularly because the disruption of communications could severely hinder law enforcement from protecting the public during a crisis.

It is unknown if the hacker accessed any data that made the officers, employees and citizens vulnerable, but the hackers have not asked for a ransom and officials believe they have ousted the intruders.

The attack further highlights the need for enhanced cybersecurity measures to counter attempts to breach networks stored on government computers - often containing highly confidential and personal information. The New York State Association of Counties has arranged a workshop on the issue at its annual conference in Syracuse on Sept. 13 through 15.


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