New York State Legislature Impacted By Cyber Incident

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( – A suspected cyberattack recently disrupted the computer systems of the New York State Legislature, hindering the progress of budget discussions that were already delayed. The incident occurred late Tuesday, April 16, and was discovered in the early hours of Wednesday. The attack came at a critical time, during efforts to grapple with a state budget that was already more than two weeks overdue.

Governor Kathy Hochul disclosed on Wednesday that the cyber incident was quickly identified, prompting action from state cybersecurity officials. However, the precise cause or intention behind the attack remains unclear. The Legislature’s bill drafting office, crucial for finalizing the budget document, was severely affected. According to reports from Gothamist, the office was forced to revert to an archaic computer filing system from 1994, which had been abandoned over two decades ago.

Hochul, in a radio interview with Brian Lehrer on WNYC, mentioned that the restoration of the legislative computer systems might be prolonged due to the extensive data involved. Despite these challenges, Hochul had previously announced on Monday that an agreement had been reached on a $237 billion spending plan, with expectations to advance it within the week. Officials reportedly maintained a positive outlook, and the state budget ultimately passed on Saturday, April 20, over 20 days past the due date.

This incident emphasizes on a growing concern in Washington regarding the susceptibility of critical infrastructure to cyber threats. The Biden administration recently issued a specific alert concerning potential risks to state water and wastewater systems. Moreover, the Senate Finance Committee plans to conduct a hearing to assess the impact of a recent cyberattack on Change Healthcare, which disrupted healthcare payments across the nation, highlighting the increasing focus on cybersecurity at the federal level.

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