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Salem, N.H., Disrupted by Cyberattack, Data May Be Compromised

Town Manager Chris Dillon announced that the town became the victim of "a sophisticated cybersecurity attack involving ransomware” on Oct. 21. The attack cut off access to internal systems and may have exposed data.

Illustration of a red broken lock with a row of data servers behind it.
Timofeev Vladimir/Shutterstock
(TNS) — Town officials still offline after a cybersecurity breach last week recently learned attackers were able to access internal systems, according to Town Manager Chris Dillon.

At about 3:15 a.m. on Oct. 21, the town became the victim of "a sophisticated cybersecurity attack involving ransomware," Dillon said in a statement.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a specified amount of money is paid.

"Unfortunately, Salem is just one of many U.S. public municipalities being targeted in similar malicious cyberattacks during the COVID-19 era," Dillon said.

Investigators probing the situation in Salem learned "they may have downloaded data from certain servers," the town manager's statement reads.

That investigation is said to be ongoing, and "we are working expeditiously to identify the exact information that may have been taken," Dillon said.

The town continues to work "around the clock" to resolve the ongoing disruption of systems, including community services at Town Hall, as well as Police and Fire department systems.

Emergency lines are functioning properly.

Dillon said the town's systems will remain offline "out of an abundance of caution" until "we are confident that we can safely bring them back into service."

©2020 The Eagle-Tribune, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.