Hunterdon County Department of Public Safety warns of ‘elevated’ cyber security status

The Hunterdon County Department of Public Safety has received several warnings from state and federal agencies regarding potential cyber threats from various actors, Hunterdon County Commissioner Board member Susan J. Soloway reported at a recent board meeting.

Soloway, the board’s Department of Public Safety liaison, said, “The New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell, known as ‘NJ Kick’ in the public safety world, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, have advised the county’s Public Safety Department that the cyber threat level in New Jersey is now raised to elevated, due to potential retaliatory attacks stemming from sanctions against Russia. This threat level indicates significant risk due to increased hacking, virus, or other malicious activity that compromises systems or diminishes service.”

In 2015 the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness formed NJ Kick to protect the state from cyber threats and attacks. The NJ Kick office shares critical information, analyzes cyber threats and encourages the public to report any incidents to reduce the state’s overall cyber risk.

“NJ Kick states that at the elevated level, there are known vulnerabilities that are being exploited with a moderate level of damage or disruption, or the potential for significant damage or disruption is high. I am advised that the county’s IT operation is prepared. The system has multi-layers of defense in place for detecting threats that blocks senders from known threats,” Soloway continued.

The county’s IT department reports that defense includes blocking internet traffic from countries known for malicious email traffic, sophisticated firewalls for intrusion defense, high level virus protections for personal computers and Servers, and an intrusion detection system which was provided by homeland security.

Soloway said, “The public is urged to refer to the latest ‘NJKick’ Advisory and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s ‘Shields Up’ website for the latest risk mitigation practices.” Click here to visit the ‘Shields Up’ website.