Middletown NJ cyberattack shut down email, interruptions continue | #emailsecurity | #phishing | #ransomware


MIDDLETOWN — A “criminal cyberattack” has wrought havoc with the township’s computer systems, township officials said Tuesday.

Details on the intrusion were sparse.

“The township was recently the victim of a criminal cyberattack that interrupted access to servers, including email, for approximately three weeks,” township Administrator Tony Mercantante said in an email.

“Some interruptions continue because the township is carefully restoring its systems to ensure all data is safe and secure,” Mercantante said.

“As this matter is the subject of an active criminal and forensic investigation, the township cannot comment further or provide additional details at this time,” Mercantante said. “Should it be determined that any confidential data retained by the township was accessed, all necessary parties will be notified in accordance with the law.”

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There was no word on who was behind the attack or if the township paid any ransom.

Emails from the Asbury Park Press to township recipients went unreceived as early as Oct. 7, and were still not reaching their destinations at least as recently as Oct. 18.

Elsewhere in New Jersey

Computer intrusions against public agencies and institutions have been on the rise in recent years. In 2019 Fair Lawn and Elmwood Park were victims of cyber crime.

In the case of Elmwood Park, borough officials suspected “ransomware,” or malicious software that infects computer networks with an attendant threat to lock them down or publish information unless a ransom is paid.

Later that same year Edison-based Hackensack Meridian Health paid an undisclosed amount of ransom to end an intrusion on its computer network.

And last year the state’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness investigated an intrusion into school computer systems in Wall.

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Alex N. Gecan covers local news and unsolved mysteries for the Asbury Park Press. You can reach him at 732-547-1365 or agecan@gannettnj.com, or follow him on Twitter @GeeksterTweets.



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