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N.Y. county gets help from NYPD after hackers hit 911 center, PD HQ

Dispatchers have resorted to using pen and paper, while officers must use encrypted radio while on patrol


Photo/Chris Urso via MCT

By Amanda Spence

SUFFOLK COUNTY, N.Y. — Almost two weeks ago, Suffolk County, New York, was struck by a cyberattack that targeted many of the county’s computer systems – including the 911 call center and police department. Officials are now asking for the NYPD’s assistance as the county’s 911 call center and police force continue to deal with the aftermath.

According to NBC 4 New York, the dispatch center has been seriously affected and employees have resorted to using pen and paper to get their jobs done since many computers remain out of commission.

“Unfortunately had to go back to our old system where information is recorded by hand and information is handed to the dispatcher, in contrast to putting it into a computer-aided system,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison explained.

The NYPD is providing assistance with five call operators per shift to help with incoming calls. But it isn’t just the dispatch center that was affected. Law enforcement officers can’t use their computers located in their vehicles to do perform tasks like background checks. They now have to use encrypted radio to get in touch with state police or highway patrol for critical information.

Since the hack, those claiming responsibility have put up information on the dark web with threats of posting documents they got ahold of until the county pays a ransom.

Harrison said the county is diligently working to get the dispatch center back up and running – a task they hope to accomplish by Friday.

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