The Suffolk County seal on the H. Lee Dennison building...

The Suffolk County seal on the H. Lee Dennison building in Hauppauge. Credit: Newsday / Karen Wiles Stabile

Suffolk County officials were still investigating a possible ransomware attack on county computer systems as temporary changes have been made to minimize disruptions while systems are being restored, a Suffolk County spokeswoman said Sunday.

Sunday afternoon, officials  continued to investigate the source of the suspected ransomware attack, Marykate Guilfoyle, a spokeswoman from Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s office, told Newsday.

Several agencies were running on a manual and paper record-keeping system, including fax machines, paper forms and other methods as an alternative to web-based systems to ensure residents can still access what they need with as little disruption as possible.

“We’re kind of doing it a little ‘old school’ right now, probably the way the county was run in the 90s. The police are filing out paper forms right now, so a lot of operations are just more manual and not web-based right now,” Guilfoyle said.

Regarding a time frame for when the county expects all agencies to be fully back online, Guilfoyle said officials are still working on that, but it was “tough to tell” at the moment.

“You hope as soon as possible, but you want to make sure you’re thorough, and there’s a lot of data and a lot to comb through because we are the largest county in New York State, so I know the team is working on it but it’s tough to estimate a time frame,” Guilfoyle said.

The county had shut down its computer systems after “suspicious activity” had been detected resulting from a possible cyber intrusion, Bellone told Newsday on Friday.

The shutdown had taken the county’s main website, www.suffolkcountyny.gov, offline with links to several county agencies such as the county comptroller, the district attorney’s office and parks department, not working. As of Sunday, links to the county’s website still were not working.

As a result of the shutdown, the county on Monday will not be able to send between $15 million to $20 million in scheduled checks to engineering firms, utility companies and other vendors, county officials previously stated. However, critical services and 911 emergency systems remain operational as of Sunday, according to Guilfoyle.

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