A cyber-attack has forced the government of New Mexico’s most populous county to close most of its county buildings to the public.
Bernalillo County had to take some of its IT systems offline on Wednesday after becoming the target of a digital assault that county officials suspect was a ransomware attack.
In a statement released Wednesday, the county said that all public safety departments, such as emergency 911 communications, the Sheriff’s Office, and Fire and Rescue, were operating as normal “using back-up contingencies.”
However, the incident caused the county’s Metropolitan Detention Center to cancel inmate visits Wednesday.
“Bernalillo County has discovered what is believed to be a ransomware attack on county systems,” stated the county.
“The county has taken affected systems offline and has severed network connections.”
Vendors for the county’s IT systems have been notified of the attack. The county said that its cybersecurity and IT suppliers are “working to solve the issue and restore the system functions.”
While the disruption of the attack continues, the county said its employees would do their best to fulfill their duties by working remotely.
A county statement read: “Most county buildings are closed to the public; however, county employees are remote working and will assist the public as much as possible, given the circumstances.”
The county did not share any information as to how or by whom the attack was orchestrated. Nor has the county stated if any data has been compromised or if it has received a ransom demand.
Bernalillo County spokesperson Tia Bland said: “Just know the county is working with a good team of people, long hours, the right people are at the table trying to figure this thing out.”
KOAT Action News reported that the attack on Bernalillo County is causing disruption to the local real estate industry. With key county IT systems offline, realtors are unable to access information such as taxes and deeds that is needed to complete property sales.
“It’s having a ripple effect on the real estate market in general,” said Damon Maddox, the president of the New Mexico Association of Realtors.
“It’s difficult for us to do our job if we can’t access the county website to get that public information.”