Somerset County officials are still trying to determine the full impact of a cyberattack that has crippled thier email system and disrupted some services.

Residents are being advised to call ahead, before visiting county offices to make certain their business can be conducted.

County Administrator Colleen Mahr said in a statement, "With the exception of email, the county is performing normal functions. That said, we have activated our Emergency Operations Center and our Continuity of Operations of Government Plan."

The biggest impact appears to be to the county email system. No emails are being received and cannot be responded to.

Phone systems were working as of this morning, and 911 emergency services are unaffected.

All county offices and phone lines are open and working, but emails to county personnel cannot be received or responded to for the time being. Emergency 9-1-1-communications are unaffected and fully functional. Emergency services are available as usual throughout the county. - Notice on Somerset County website

Somerset County Commissioners were scheduled to meet for thier regular board meeting last night, but postponed it to a later date.

Mahr says it's anticipated the email system will be down for a week, but that was an estimate.

These types of cyber, or ransomware, attacks are designed to cripple a computer system until a ransom is paid. Once the ransom is paid, in theory, the hackers will release the system, but that doesn't always happen.

A variety of insurance policies are sold to cover the costs of a ransomware attack, but it is not known is such a policy is in effect for Somerset County's systems.

Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at eric.scott@townsquaremedia.com

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