The Newark Police Department in New Jersey was forced to use a backup system to dispatch emergency personnel earlier last week after its computer network was affected by a cyberattack, a city official said Saturday.
Anthony Ambrose, the city’s acting public safety director, told NJ Advance Media that the primary program used by the Newark Police Department to dispatch emergency personnel was one of several systems taken offline last week while authorities attempted to remove a virus that was implanted on its network during a recent cyberattack.
The computer virus temporarily locked down servers used by the NPD and prevented staffers from accessing several computer programs, NJ Advance Media reported. Authorities declined to say when the cyberattack began or how hackers had managed to penetrate the police department’s network, but they said there is no indication any records were compromised as a result.
During the course of cleaning up from the attack, however, Mr. Ambrose said staffers were unable to access various law enforcement systems for three days, including a program used to track crime data and the department’s primary dispatching program.
“The virus did not disrupt the delivery of emergency services to our citizens,” he insisted, because the NPD was able to use a backup system while access to the affected programs were restored.
The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the FBI and the New Jersey State Police have all been made aware of the attack, and the NPD has implemented new security measures in an effort to fend off future attacks.
“We have implemented additional safeguards, which we won’t disclose to further reduce the likelihood of another infection,” Mr. Ambrose said.
Newark was infamously dubbed “The Most Dangerous City in the Nation” by Time in 1996, and more than a quarter of the violent deaths that occurred statewide during 2015 took place in Newark, according to a previous analysis of crime statistics.