New York City hit with DDoS attacks, government email service knocked out

Unknown hackers knock out New York City governments email system

For whole of last week and uptil Monday, unknown hackers had knocked of New York City government’s emailing system. The attack was pretty ferocious according to a City Hall source who said that the “universal” denial of service attack had now been contained but there was still “ongoing malicious activity” as recently as Monday.

Almost all government agencies in New York City were unable to send or receive messages for the past week due to this attack. Some agencies such as the Department of Transportation set up temporary Gmail accounts to send and receive emails. Sources said that inbound and outbound emails were affected while intra-agency emails were not affected by the attack

Speaking about the DDoS attack, Jackie Albano, a spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, said that the attack which started last Tuesday, had been resolved last week. He  also added that the efforts taken to mitigate the attack may have slowed the email servers resulting in slowed emails.

DDoS or Hack?

It is not known whether New York City government websites were under DDoS attack or were hacked because Albano added that no sensitive information or data was compromised during the attack. He however said that this was a “big attack” but downplayed its impact on New York City government services.

“It is a big deal but….it’s like a lot of mosquitoes buzzing around you,” said Albano. “The nature of the attack is only designed to interfere with service, not to steal or access any private information. It’s designed to slow down email. On the scale of cyber incidences it’s kind of low.”

Albano said that MSISAC, New York Police Department and FBI were all investigating the incident and it is still not clear who initiated the attack of why.


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