Cyberattack Playing Havoc With Child Support System, Lawyer Says

The cyberattack on the Suffolk County computer system is affecting some aspects of family law, a Huntington attorney says.

Louis L. Sternberg, who specializes in divorce and family law matters, said that while courts, which are primarily state-run, are operating, what isn’t working well is the system for collecting and reporting child support payments.

Prosecutors don’t have email, so documents can’t be emailed back and forth. “But what’s much more problematic is child support cases,” Sternberg said. “Any order that is payable through the state’s support collection unit is in limbo.

The ransomware attack on the county system was first spotted about Sept. 8, crippling many government operations as email, computer systems and sometimes phones failed. The county told Newsday that the system for checking on property titles had returned to service on Monday, allowing real estate transaction to resume. But other government operations relying on access to databases and other computer-based systems and information, have failed or been slowed.

“Ordinarily there are people participating and testifying in court every day to keep courts abreast of what’s going on but (without technology) the liaisons from the support collection unit whose job it is to offer testimony can’t. They are essentially impotent.”
“It’s particularly stressful with child support litigation,” he said. “It’s just brought finances to a half for both payees and payers because we can’t verify without the county.”
“We used a fax machine for the first time in many years this week,” an old technology he could normally do without, he said.


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