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Will Luzerne County’s OT Costs Be Covered By Cyberinsurance?

The Memorial Day weekend cyberattack that forced the Pennsylvania county’s networks offline amassed more than $22,000 in overtime. Now, officials are waiting to see if those costs can be recovered through cyberinsurance.

by Eric Mark, The Citizens' Voice / October 4, 2019
Shutterstock/Sergey Nivens

(TNS) — Luzerne County is waiting to hear if overtime costs associated with a May cyberattack on the county computer network will be fully covered under the county's cyber-risk insurance policy.

The county accumulated $22,432.97 in overtime costs as it recovered from the attack that was discovered over Memorial Day weekend, according to county Manager David Pedri.

That amount has been submitted to Travelers, the insurance company with which the county has cyber-risk coverage, Pedri said Thursday.

Travelers has not notified the county whether it will cover the overtime costs, Pedri said. Soon after the cyber attack, Pedri said he hoped the county's only expense related to the attack would be paying the $10,000 deductible on the cyber-risk policy.

In reply to an email asking if the cyber-attack will cause the county to increase its cyber-risk coverage or impact the premium it pays for that coverage, Pedri replied "the coverage and pricing level is based upon a recommendation by our broker and risk manager. We will be discussing this in November."

The computer network is fully restored apart from the county's property assessment database. Without access to that database, real estate transactions in the county ground nearly to a halt for weeks until officials found a workaround.

The county still hopes to restore the database to full function and is working with outside consultants EST Group and Veritas to make that happen, according to Pedri.

The county did not pay any form of ransom to have the computer system restored, Pedri said. He said he was not aware of any ransom demand having been made.

County officials shut down most of the computer network as a precaution after the attack was discovered. Employees of the county information technology department and outside consultants worked around the clock to restore the network.

The county contacted law enforcement agencies including the FBI as well as the Department of Homeland Security, who are investigating, Pedri said.

County employees received training in cyber-security and safe computer usage, he said.

Officials have said the most likely cause of the cyberattack was an employee opening a fraudulent email attachment that contained a virus, possibly timed to "detonate" later.

©2019 The Citizens' Voice (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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