Cyberattack hits NY Capitol amid budget negotiations


An apparent cyberattack struck the New York State Legislature’s computer infrastructure overnight Tuesday, slowing progress on state budget negotiations that are already weeks overdue and forcing the state to move to a 20th-century backup system.

Gov. Kathy Hocul (D) said Wednesday that the cyberattack was discovered in the early hours of Wednesday, sparking a quick response from state cybersecurity officials. 

The exact cause or motivation for the attack is unknown.

The legislature’s bill drafting office — those responsible for finalizing the text of the state budget — was the worst hit, Gothamist reported. State legislators are already 17 days late on the state budget, which expired at the end of March.

In response to the attack, the bill drafting office is relying on an outdated computer filing system from 1994, which was replaced over 20 years ago.

“Our understanding right now is that it will take a little bit longer to deal with the legislative side of it because a lot of data is included in the computers,” Hochul said of the budget process in a WNYC radio appearance with Brian Lehrer on Wednesday.

Hochul announced Monday that lawmakers had reached a deal on a $237 billion spending plan, which was expected to move forward this week.

Lawmakers have shown optimism that the cyberattack should not delay the budget process.

“Nothing is delayed,” state Senate Democrats spokesman Mike Whyland said.

Cyberattacks have been a focus of Washington in recent months, as members of Congress worry about the rising popularity and potential risks to companies and governments.

The Biden administration sent out a special warning for state water and wastewater systems last month, warning that critical infrastructure could be a target for attack. 

The Senate Finance Committee is also expected to hold a hearing on Change Healthcare cyberattack in the coming weeks, reflecting on an attack that froze healthcare payments nationwide.

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