Cyberattack Causes Local Governments To Monitor Their Systems | #malware | #ransomware

The Lower Makefield Township building. File photo.

A cyberattack on a Lower Bucks County municipality has left other local governments checking their systems.

Starting last week, Lower Makefield Township officials became aware their systems were compromised by a ransomware cyberattack. The attack impacted several of the municipality’s systems, including email, sources said.

The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Office (PEMA) included the attack in a statewide daily operations briefing provided to Gov. Tom Wolf, according to a document reviewed by

PEMA reported Lower Makefield Township issued a disaster emergency declaration due to the attack.

Several Levittown-area local government officials said their communities have implemented steps to make sure the Lower Makefield Township attack doesn’t spread to their systems. Employees in some offices have been alerted to be wary when opening email from Lower Makefield Township-affiliated email addresses.

The Lower Makefield Township website and Facebook page don’t make mention of the cyberattack.

PEMA and the Bucks County Emergency Management Agency have provided assistance to Lower Makefield Township officials.

“The county and its Emergency Management Agency are aware of an issue impacting municipal computer systems in Lower Makefield. The county has provided some assistance to the township,” said James O’Malley, a spokesperson for county government.

“The county’s Information Technology Department routinely monitors the county’s network for issues and vulnerabilities and continues to do so,” he added.

A email and phone call to Lower Makefield Township officials for comment on the cyberattack was not returned by 5 p.m.

File photo.

Earlier this year, the Pennsbury School District’s computer systems were hobbled by a cyberattack, but no sensitive district information was compromised, officials said.

In recent years, local governments have increasingly become the targets of cyberattacks. The perpetrators have been criminal gangs or state-tied groups.

Cybersecurity firm Emsisoft reported in 2019 that the U.S. dealt with “an unprecedented and unrelenting barrage of ransomware attacks that impacted at least 966 government agencies, educational establishments, and healthcare providers at a potential cost in excess of $7.5 billion.”

“Local governments are not only under constant or nearly constant attack, but the frequency of attacks is increasing,” the International City/County Management Association found in a survey covering 2019 and 2020.

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