NEW BEDFORD – Last year’s ransomware attack on the city left residents wary of local government agencies reporting computer issues, but the issues the New Bedford Debt Register faced last week are not the result of a hack or a security breach, according to Join Dr. Frederick M Kalisz Jr.
On the registry home page, users are greeted with the message “Please note that there has been NO violation of the registry computer system.” Registry services have been interrupted due to several equipment failures. Our suppliers are working diligently with each other to rectify the situation as soon as possible.
Kalisz said the South District Bristol County Deed Register first noticed the issues, which he described as a network glitch and system malfunction, last Wednesday and Thursday. This impacted the Registry’s ability to record the data of anyone bringing deeds and mortgages.
Typically, this data was processed immediately, unless there was some sort of backlog.
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Not being able to save the data can affect the ability to finalize transactions, according to Kalisz, and in the worst case, it could prevent someone from moving into their new home.
Fortunately, the office has not heard from people facing such serious issues or received many phone calls from angry people, according to Kalisz.
They have had concerns raised by several attorneys and real estate agents they deal with, but nothing out of the ordinary that concerns them, he said.
The registry is still accepting documents, it simply was not able to save them and there was no loss of data. “Nothing is missing, we have everything,” Kalisz said.
The whole ordeal has been “a little frustrating,” he said, but they see the light at the end of the tunnel as they expected to be able to start recording data again on Wednesday.
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“We worked on it every day – all weekend,” Kalisz said. This included working with their vendor, Avenue, who Kalisz says was responsive and worked around the clock to resolve the issue.
While many other Bristol County registries use the same company, Kalisz said the Southern District Registry is the only one experiencing issues because it is specifically related to information entering and leaving the registry.
Once things are up and running again, Kalisz said the registry will play catch-up to record the data they received over the past week.
The Southern District registry was able to stay open every day of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Kalisz, which he said is something people appreciated because not all registers were able to stay open.
Last summer, the city was hit by a ransomware attack that affected 158 desktops and laptops, or about 4% of the computers used by city employees in all departments, and impacted the government of town for weeks.
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Those responsible for the attack demanded $ 5.3 million from the city in July. The city ultimately decided to offer $ 400,000 of the insurance proceeds, but this offer was rejected and rather than offering more, the city decided to recover its own data.
In February, The New York Times reported that last year 205,280 organizations submitted files that had been hacked in a ransomware attack.