NEW BEDFORD — As the cyberattack that’s disrupted computers at City departments continues into its sixth day, one City Councilor is demanding transparency

Ward Three City Councilor Hugh Dunn penned a letter to Mayor Jon Mitchell Wednesday requesting transparency on the attack, while also expressing concern about the lack of an update on the situation from the administration.

“I am deeply troubled by the lack of information provided to our residents since the attack became apparent, last week on July 5th. Our City must provide prompt and thorough communication with residents on the occurrence of an incident when City functions may be jeopardized, and its citizen's lives may be negatively impacted,” Dunn wrote.

“Breaches in municipal cybersecurity put our City at risk of losing control of our citizen's and employees' personal, and confidential information - including credit card information, social security numbers, voting records, legal documents and countless other data.”

While no official update has been provided on the extent of the attack or its effects, there is no evidence indicating any personal information belonging to city residents has been breached. It’s unknown if the City Hall computers fell victim to ransomware.

Dunn continued the letter to list a series of questions to be answered by Mayor Mitchell regarding the scope, characteristics, and consequences of the attack, among other topics.

“The operational impacts of this cyberattack on our services and systems must also be discussed, publicly. I encourage the following questions to be answered immediately in a public forum,” penned Dunn.

His questions to the mayor are listed as follows:

  1. What virus spread through our online systems?
  2. Have any ransomware demands for payment been made?
  3. Have our public safety departments been compromised - to any extent?
  4. How and why was the City targeted?
  5. Can we definitively state that no personal data has been compromised?
  6. Who have we reached out to for assistance?
  • Have we requested support from Attorney General's office?
  • Have we requested support from the Governor, the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, and the Army National Guard's cyber security personnel?
  • Have we requested support from Federal Bureau of Investigation?
  • Who are the external consultants we are engaging?
  • Have we requested support from the IT community leaders? I.e. IBM, Microsoft, and local companies like MTSi etc.
  1. Does the City have cyber liability coverage?
  2. Will City employees be paid on time?
  3. What is the estimated timeline for full recovery of city operations?
  4. When was the City's last email protection/firewall software upgrade, and update?

In response to a request for comment on Dunn’s letter, the Mayor’s Office referred to the following statement on the attack:

“Over the holiday weekend, the City’s information technology staff discovered that a computer virus disrupted the City’s municipal information technology services. The IT staff has continued to work with external consultants to restore affected computers and further assess the nature and scope of the disruption,” the Mayor’s Office said in the original statement.

The public is unlikely to notice any negative impacts related to the disruption; municipal departments are providing services to residents as usual. The IT staff is unaware of any evidence of unauthorized access to identifiable personal data. Based on the advice of IT security professionals, the City is refraining from providing information related to specific impacts at this time. At an appropriate time in the future, we hope to provide more information.”

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