Documents published by a group taking responsibility for the ransomware attack on Suffolk County government include speeding tickets, contracts with county vendors, and a handwritten marriage license from 1908, according to a Newsday review of the materials.
Such documents, which in some cases show the names, addresses and dates of birth of county residents, could contain increasingly sensitive information as hackers press their demands, one cybersecurity expert said.
Steve Morgan, founder of Cybersecurity Ventures in Northport, which provides data and research to the information technology industry, said ransomware hackers sometimes will start by leaking less sensitive data in what they consider to be a show of good faith to open ransom negotiations.
“They’re putting data out to try to provide evidence that we have your data, and we’re willing to put your data out, but without putting out anything that would be too compromising to scare the county,” Morgan told Newsday Monday.
Morgan said hackers could continue to leak increasingly sensitive information to ramp up pressure on the county.
“The worst of what they have is the last that would get published,” Morgan said.
Suffolk County took down its web-based applications and websites on Sept. 8 following a cyberattack on county computer systems.
On Friday, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced cybercriminals had taken credit for a hack on county government.
Bellone said county officials were working to protect sensitive information.
County officials referred to postings on the “dark web” — an anonymized portion of the internet where criminal activity can occur — attributing the attack to the BlackCat or ALPHV strain of ransomware.
County officials have not said whether hackers have made a ransom demand, and have offered no timeline for when county operations could be back online.
An updated posting Monday said the hackers were seeking an unspecified “small reward.”
County officials did not respond immediately for comment last night.
Earlier Monday, Marykate Guilfoyle, a spokeswoman for Bellone, said county officials were continuing to assess the attack.
In their post on the dark…