ROXBURY, NJ – A virus attack on Roxbury municipal computers was not mentioned by township officials at a Tuesday council meeting and was only discussed after a resident probed for answers.
The matter was not brought up by the seven members of the council or by Roxbury Township Manager John Shepherd. A brief colloquy took place during the meeting's public session when resident Ann Mauro brought up the incident.
Responding to questions posed by Mauro, Shepherd did not reveal details. “I think we’re still assessing everything that transpired,” he said.
Last week, Shepherd confirmed that a number of township computers were infected by a virus over the weekend of April 27 and April 28. He said the problem required the township to restore its data from a backup and he said it appeared no confidential information was compromised.
A List of Questions
Mauro - noting her husband is an “IT security person” who gave her a list of questions to ask at the meeting - peppered Shepherd with inquiries. “Do you know how it happened and are you putting in preventative measures to make sure it doesn’t happen again?” she asked.
Shepherd said the township was doing all it can toward that end, but he said he was unable to offer specifics. “I’m not an IT person,” he said. “That’s not what I do for a living.”
The manager said it would be wrong for him to say the township’s IT systems are completely safe from future attacks.
“I don’t know if any company or any government organization can guarantee they would never be impacted by some sort of attack,” he told Mauro. “So, to say it will never happen again; I think anybody who says it will never happen again is being a little bit disingenuous.”
The weekend attack was discovered on Monday, April 29.
A source described the virus as “ransomware,” a form of attack in which hackers demand payment, something Shepherd did not confirm or deny in an email exchange with TAPinto Roxbury.
“It might have been in one of the files. We had no intention of paying, so we did not open the infected files.”
Make sure you don’t miss any Roxbury news!
Click here to sign-up for our free, daily e-newsletter.
Want to help support local journalism and promote your business to thousands of community-minded readers? Become a TAPinto Roxbury advertiser! Call 862-259-2448 or click here.