New Mexico County Recovering from Ransomware Attack
Another day, another governmental entity hit with a ransomware attack. If you are a resident of Bernalillo County, New Mexico, and you need a marriage license, want to conduct a real estate transaction or register to vote, you might be told there is “no access to systems and no legal filings are possible” due to a cybersecurity “issue.” But you CAN still pay your taxes, as no extension is being given, despite the cyber event.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, the County announced on January 5, 2021, that it was a victim of a cyberattack that affected “a wide variety of county government operations. Most county buildings were closed until further notice.”
Not only was the clerk’s office closed for certain business transactions, but the County also filed an emergency notice in federal court that it was unable to comply with terms of a settlement involving conditions at the County jail because the ransomware attack knocked out access to the jail’s security cameras. As a result, all inmates were limited in how much time they could spend outside their cells, and their access to telephones and tablets was reduced. According to the article, the facility has been “on ‘lockdown’ since Wednesday.”
Court systems were disrupted as well, and personnel scrambled to set up alternate plans to “allow criminal proceedings to continue in the face of this unforeseen event.”
Ransomware attacks against local governmental entities are frequent and very disruptive to residents of that state, county, or municipality. And it does not look like the pace of attacks against local governments will ease any time soon.