The ransomware attack has only affected email and IT systems; phone lines and emergency service systems are all working properly, the county said.
The hack also affected a web form through which residents can request replacement mail-in ballots for New Jersey’s primary election next month. Residents can still call to request a replacement ballot or do so in-person, Nathan Rudy, Somerset County’s director of public information, told CNN.
Rudy said it would be “at least until the end of the week” before the county’s digital infrastructure would be fully functional after the hack.
It was unclear who was responsible for the hack. Rudy said the FBI was investigating the incident. CNN has requested comment from the FBI.
The Somerset County hack is only the latest ransomware incident to hamper local government services in the US, which often struggle with resources to counter hacks. It marks the 22nd US state or local government to be hit by ransomware in 2022, according to Allan Liska, senior intelligence analyst at cybersecurity firm Recorded Future
In his first year in office, President Joe Biden exhorted Russian President Vladimir Putin to rein in cybercriminals operating from Russian soil, some of whom had allegedly conducted high-profile hacks of US critical infrastructure.
With many alleged ransomware operatives living in Ukraine and Russia, the jury is still out on how the war in Ukraine has affected the ransomware ecosystem.