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Posted on: February 7, 2024

Commissioners Approve Emergency Declaration, Contracts Related to Cyber Attack

Bucks County Seal

The Bucks County Board of Commissioners today approved a slate of resolutions related to last month’s cybersecurity incident that targeted the Department of Emergency Communications’ computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system.

Passed during the Board’s regular public meeting, the resolutions include contracts with cyber forensic and legal firms, as well as a Declaration of Disaster Emergency. 

The measures provide formal approval of the County’s efforts to expedite restoration and enlist expert assistance in response to the Jan. 21 ransomware attack that rendered the CAD system temporarily inoperable.  

Emergency dispatchers’ use of the CAD system resumed Jan. 30 following days of intensive restoration efforts by staff of the County’s Information Technology and Emergency Communications Departments. At no time during the incident were the County’s 911 call-taking and dispatch abilities interrupted. 

“The CAD took the County two years to build, and when a cyber attack took it offline our team put the system back together in just nine days,” said Commissioner Chair Diane Ellis-Marseglia. “We’ve still got more rebuilding to do, but we’re immensely proud of the work our staff has done so far, and we’re incredibly thankful for the assistance of our partner agencies and cybersecurity vendors.” 

The County did not engage in negotiations with those claiming responsibility for the attack, nor did it pay any ransom to restore functionality to its systems. Rather, the County’s IT and Emergency Communications departments’ meticulous cyber maintenance and backup practices were key to the system’s quick restoration. 

Forensic investigations by the County and its partners have found no evidence that any data was in fact copied or otherwise extracted from the CAD system. 

This incident remains under County, state and federal investigation. 

Media Contact: James O’Malley, 215-348-6414, [email protected] 

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