Long Island

Suffolk County Asks NYPD for Help After Hack Cripples 911 Call Center and Police HQ

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Ten days after a cyber attack hit Suffolk County computers, much of the county's police department is still deeply feeling the effects — and is calling on the NYPD for backup.

The 911 dispatch center at the Suffolk County Police Department headquarters has been reduced to using pen and paper, after hackers took down the county government's computers.

"Unfortunately had to go back to our old system where information is recorded by hand and information is handed to the dispatcher, in contrast to putting it into a computer-aided system," said Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison.

The NYPD is providing five additional call operators per tour to help handle the volume of calls. Once a call is received, instead of inputting the incident into a computer, the calls are made to dispatch officers.

The Sept. 8 cyber attack is impacting more than just the call center, however. Officers are still unable to use their car computers to conduct background checks. Instead, the officers must use encrypted radio to contact state police or highway patrol for further information.

And it's not just police hurting as a result. Title searches, an essential part of real estate closings, have been frozen too. Lawyers and buyers are trying to proceed with caution.

"Title insurance is necessary. You cannot have a real estate transaction unless you have title insurance on the piece of property, and therefore a title reports which must be run," said paralegal Nora Garvey. "It's extremely precarious to go ahead with a closing at this point."

Since the hack occurred, those responsible have posted information on the dark web, threatening to publish documents obtained from the hack until the county pays up.

For information on how each agency is handling the hack, Suffolk County is directing residents to their temporary website. Commissioner Harrison said that the county is trying to safely bring back the 911 call system, which they hope to have done by Friday.

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