Suffolk union negotiates safety proposals with county: report

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HAUPPAUGE, NY – Representatives of the Suffolk County Municipal Employees Association, which previously urged members not to use their personal devices or emails, are negotiating cybersecurity concerns with county officials, according to a report from Newsday.

The union, which represents around 6,000 workers, urged its members on September 16 to refrain from using their personal cell phones and other devices, as well as emails for work and report requests to be made, in telling them, “The temptation to get things done does not lessen the exposure to liability that may be incurred. The potential risk far outweighs any reward,” the outlet reported.

But workers who don’t have email can’t communicate and that could hamper the county’s ability to launch a new, higher-security system that would send text messages to cellphones so the identity of someone can be verified, someone familiar with the county’s cyberattack response. says Newsday.

Michael Skelly, a spokesman for the union, told the outlet that the new bargaining measures are “focused on improving our ability to repair future attacks while protecting our members’ personal information,” but he did not want to give details.

Suffolk’s web applications came under attack on September 8, forcing officials to take down some of its services, including web pages and emails, while they investigate. The attack has since been deemed a ransomware attack.

A gang of cybercriminals named “BlackCat” is responsible for it, according to publications on the dark web.

County officials have previously said the hackers responsible for the cyberattack accessed or acquired residents’ personal information and they advised vigilant credit monitoring.

Civil service exams that had been postponed earlier this month were postponed last week.

Authorities resumed allowing title companies to search last Monday, nearly a month after the county’s web applications were disrupted following a Sept. 8 ransomware attack.

The county’s 911 emergency call center, which had been manned by the New York Police Department, was restored last week, Newsday reported.

To learn more about Newsday, click here.

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