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The Town of Poughkeepsie responded quickly to a cyber attack targeting Town Hall the prior weekend, Town Supervisor Rebecca Edwards revealed during the town board’s regular meeting on February 21, 2024. 

In her remarks, Edwards detailed the incident that unfolded in the early hours of Monday morning, Feb. 19, indicating that at 2:02 a.m., the town’s networks fell victim to what she termed a “cyber event.” 

Acknowledging the gravity of the situation, Edwards commended the swift response of the town’s consultants at CSI and its IT team, particularly Tim Mard, who led efforts to shut down servers promptly in a bid to mitigate potential damage and worked for nearly 22 hours straight to ensure the security of the network. 

Fortunately, the town reported no data breaches, and it appears that the attack did not inflict any lasting harm. Expressing appreciation for Mard’s dedication, Edwards stressed the importance of fortifying cybersecurity measures in the face of evolving threats. The Supervisor then announced plans to bolster cybersecurity protocols in forthcoming meetings, recognizing that cybersecurity now ranks as the primary security concern for municipal governments. 

According to Edwards, in the aftermath of the cyber attack, the Town began discussions with their insurers, underscoring the urgent need for municipalities to enhance defenses against cyber threats and invest in robust cybersecurity frameworks.

“These incidents are reminders of how high a priority cybersecurity must be for government at all levels,” Edwards told the Observer. “I’m grateful to our IT team for a swift response that averted the danger.” According to cyber security firm Sophos, their report “The State of Ransomware in State and Local Governments in 2022” found that 58% of state and local governments experienced a ransomware attack in 2021, up from 34% in 2020 – an increase of 70% over the previous year.

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