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FBI Probes IT Disruption at Saratoga Springs, N.Y., City Hall

The city network is offline, though other services are available, after the IT department was alerted late Tuesday a police officer was unable to access his account on the city computer system. Ransomware is not believed to be to blame.

The ornate, three-story, Italianate City Hall building in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
(TNS) — The FBI is taking a lead in investigating an early morning incident involving a disruption to the city's information technology systems, Commissioner of Finance Minita Sanghvi said.

In a special Wednesday afternoon City Council meeting, Sanghvi reported that late on Tuesday night, the IT department was alerted that a city police officer couldn't access his account on the city's computer system. She said IT Director Jeff Cornick followed emergency protocols that "alerted New York state Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services which then triggered the New York State Police and the FBI."

At the meeting, Sanghvi said ransomware was not to blame. She did not provide more details about what specifically triggered the need to start emergency protocols.

"We've been working tirelessly since," Sanghvi said. "We did an all agency update this afternoon and will continue collaborating while the investigation is still ongoing."

Prior to her announcement at the meeting, the council went into executive session to "discuss matters which will imperil the public safety if disclosed."

However, Commissioner of Public Safety Tim Coll assured that the public is in no danger.

"There is no threat to public safety," Coll said. "There was not a threat at all yesterday to public safety. Out of an overabundance of caution last night, we took our 911 calls and sent them to our county dispatch. We relocated our dispatch folks over to the county to address that as well. That is still ongoing, or (use the) nonemergency number so the public has it now, 518-885-6761, which is posted on the PD's social media."

Earlier on Wednesday, Sanghvi said while the city website is still up, many IT functions are not. She could not give an estimation as to when all functions, including email, will be restored. She said those who need to contact city officials or employees should call rather than email.

Sanghvi said some business functions at City Hall were impacted Wednesday, like obtaining electronic records.

"At this time all health and safety functions are being fulfilled," she said in the statement sent at 3:14 a.m. Wednesday. "In an abundance of caution, and to facilitate the ongoing investigation the city network is currently offline."

Sanghvi said she was unable to contact Mayor John Safford during the early morning hours but was assisted by Coll in this matter. As per the city charter, IT is under the purview of the commissioner of finance.

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