NY State Capitol Hit by Cyber Attack During State Budget Negotiations

As if the state of New York wasn’t already reeling from budget negotiations that were well overdue, a cyberattack hit the computer infrastructure of the state Legislature overnight on Tuesday.

As a result of the attack, progress on negotiations for the state budget were slowed yet again, as New York had to move to a backup system that is from the 20th century.

New York is already weeks overdue on its state budget, and this cyberattack only makes matters worse.

Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul held a news conference Wednesday, saying that the cyberattack was found out in the early hours of Wednesday. Cybersecurity officials with the state quickly responded to keep the damage to a minimum

It’s not clear what the motivation for the attack is at this point, nor what the cause of it was.

According to the Gothamist, the bill drafting office at the state Legislature was hit the hardest by the cyberattack. That office holds responsibility for finalizing the state budget’s text.

Due to the attack, the office had to rely on a computer filing system that is very outdated, dating back to 1994. That system was even replaced more than 20 years ago.

New York’s state budget expired at the end of March, meaning that state legislators already are nearly three weeks late on passing a new one.

Appearing on the radio station WNYC on Wednesday, Hochul commented on the state budget process by saying:

“Our understanding right now is that it will take a little bit longer to deal with the legislative side of it because a lot of data is included in the computers.”

The news of the cyberattack comes only a few days after Hochul announced that state lawmakers finally reached an agreement on a spending plan that totaled $237 billion. Before the attack, it was expected that that budget was going to move forward through the Legislature this week.

Despite the cyberattack, many state lawmakers believe they should still be able to move forward as planned, without significant additional delays.

Mike Whyland, a spokesperson for state Senate Democrats, confirmed this week that “nothing is delayed” in the process.

Cyberattacks have been a focal point for the federal government over the last few months. Many Congress members have been concerned about the rising incidents of cyberattacks, and the potential risks they pose to governments and companies.

Last month, the Biden administration sent a special warning for state wastewater and water systems, saying that critical infrastructure in those areas could be targeted by cybercriminals.

At the same time this is going on, the Senate Finance Committee should be holding a hearing on the cyberattack on the Change Healthcare system in the near future.

That attack has essentially frozen payments in the health-care system across the country.

Over the last few years, cyberattacks have targeted critical infrastructure systems in the country, and it seems likely that more similar attacks could be launched against other state governments and entities in the near future.