Huntington, NY: It has been approximately three weeks since Suffolk County was victimized by a cyber-attack which resulted in the shutdown of most of its computer-based systems. Despite this reality, Legislator Stephanie Bontempi (R-18th LD) has continued to deliver services to her constituents by resorting to alternative electronic means of communication, as well as the tried-and-true pen and paper method.
“This cyber incident is a wake-up call for everybody,” said Bontempi. “Of course, government offices need to prevent an incident like this from happening again. Also, it underlines how every organization – whether it is governmental or a private one – needs to have a backup plan for events in which modern technology is not available.”
Bontempi was not alone in her efforts to creatively connect with constituents, as all of her County legislative colleagues were thrust into the same predicament. Due to the fact that the challenges were shared among the legislative districts, inter-office communications were relied upon to devise strategies to quickly overcome the technological limitations.
“We have adapted very quickly; perhaps it is because we are all so used to thinking outside of the box due to our experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic and its own unique challenges,” Bontempi explained. “Luckily, personally owned laptops, cell phones and social media have been saving graces; they have enabled us to perform routine office tasks and reconnect with our constituents at more acceptable levels. Opting for more in-person meetings has helped too.”
Bontempi strongly encourages her constituents to contact her office via phone or in person (from (9:00AM to 5:00PM Monday-Friday) if they need assistance with a Suffolk County related matter. Bontempi can also be reached via her Suffolk County email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) but that may not be the best means of communication as its reliability is still somewhat unpredictable.
“As soon as anyone believes that he or she is the victim of a crime related to computers, he or she should contact the proper authorities immediately,” added Bontempi. “Our lives are just too dependent on computer technology to ignore those doing harm; there needs to be zero tolerance for hacking and related intrusions.”
For some helpful information regarding computer crimes, visit: https://www.justice.gov/criminal-ccips/reporting-computer-internet-related-or-intellectual-property-crime.