Cyberattack shuts down Albuquerque schools; county copes with ransomware incident

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Jonathan Greig

Written by

Jonathan Greig, Staff Writer

Jonathan Greig

Jonathan Greig
Staff Writer

Jonathan Greig is a journalist based in New York City.

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on January 13, 2022

| Topic: Ransomware

School officials in Albuquerque, New Mexico have cancelled classes for Thursday and Friday due to a cyberattack. The shutdown took place just days after a ransomware attack hit government services across Bernalillo County.

County officials have taken the affected systems offline and cut network connections, but most county building are closed to the public. Emergency services are still available and 911 is still operating, but a Sheriff’s Office customer service window was closed.

Visitation at the Metropolitan Detention Center has been postponed indefinitely, but all community centers are still open. Many other government services are still available over the phone and in person. County officials said in a statement that the attack knocked out the Clerk’s Office, limiting access to marriage licenses, real estate transactions, and voter registrations. 

“The public is being asked to understand the gravity of this ransomware issue and that, at this time, county services are still limited,” officials said. 

FBI spokesman Frank Fisher told the Albuquerque Journal that even though the school outages were taking place at the same time as the other issues, the cyberattack on APS was not tied to the ransomware attack on Bernalillo County.

On Wednesday, reports emerged that the Metropolitan Detention Center went into lockdown after the attack. A public defender filed a lawsuit revealing that the ransomware attack knocked out the jail’s internet, data management servers, and security camera networks. The lawyer said inmates’ rights had been violated because video-based court hearings were cancelled and people could only contact their lawyers through pay phones. 

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