Montclair Mayor Sean Spiller released a statement and video announcement Tuesday regarding a cyber attack:

We are reaching out today because our township IT Department recently experienced a cyber incident. As soon as we learned of the incident, we promptly retained third-party specialists to investigate and contacted the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security, the FBI, Homeland Security, and state law enforcement to identify the source of the attack, determine the damage and restore full operational function.

At this time, it appears that a criminal group that has attacked multiple other municipalities in similar fashion is responsible. While the FBI, Homeland Security, and the cyber-security experts will continue their focus on confirming the responsible group and their next steps, our township will remain focused on protecting the system and restoring full access to our systems and services.

To be clear, this cyber incident does not impact the safety and security of our voting systems. If you have not done so already, please make sure to get out to vote today.

During this time, we ask for your patience as some services may be delayed. We will share with you additional information as it is available.

You can view my video update below and ongoing updates will be available on our township website at:

Councilor at Large Peter Yacobellis sent a statement questioning the Mayor’s disclosure:

“Given that there is nothing residents need to do and critical services aren’t affected, I don’t think it was necessary to blast out a communication and worry people. I think constituents found it confusing and aren’t sure what it means for them. So the message that I want to get across to people simply is: If you’ve noticed any issues when trying to contact Township employees, it’s because we’re dealing with a cyber security issue that is affecting our servers. Things like this are always a good reminder to just make sure your own digital lives are secure.”

29 replies on “Criminal Group Strikes Montclair with Cyber Attack, Mayor Says”

  1. Voting systems? Seriously? Hackers could care less about Montclair’s voting system. They want money!!! Most of the hacking is from Iran and North Korea with some out of Russia. Newark got hacked the other day and the hackers sent out emails with attachments. Did someone open one? Did they access any funds? On top of everything else going on in town we now have this. Let’s hope the damage is contained.

  2. Three thoughts come to mind:

    1. Does Mayor Spiller only show up for “disasters”? (remember the water main break?)
    2. Isn’t it a violation of Faulkner Act for Mayor to insert himself into the administration?
    3. I’m not particularly concerned about this. The Township’s point person, Director Tony Fan, is great. One might say he’s the Paul Burr of IT.

  3. Councilor Yacobellis there is not need for you to try and over match what the mayor is clearly doing…being transparent. I think it’s important for the residents and the employees to understand what is going on! STOP GRANDSTANDING! YOU ARE NOT THE MAYOR!

  4. Getitstraight,

    I’m not a fan of Peter but your comment about Spiller and transparency gave me a chuckle. Surely, you must be joking.

    I called the town and asked if any of my personal information got compromised. Crickets. Let’s put a veil of secrecy on the whole thing, why don’t we, while making nice daily videos that say essentially… nothing? What I wanna know is: what data got compromised? Is my social security number out there? Is my credit card? How about my health information? How much money do the criminals want?

    Judge Petrillo – help!

  5. By all means, let’s pinpoint which exact movie this reminds us of. God forbid we put any pressure on the Mayor and Scantlebury to let us know what exactly got compromised and how much it will cost to fend off the criminals.

    In all fairness, this actually has nothing to do with the Mayor. I don’t understand why he is injecting himself in the whole thing. Mayor in our iteration of Faulkner act should stay away from something like this. I guess he just can’t help himself – nothing better than crisis to make some videos. I’m sure more of those are coming, just like during water main break some months ago. Sean, please stop. We all see right through it.

    Not that this isn’t a big deal – it is. But it is a purely administrative issue, i.e. it is in Scantlebury’s and his IT Director’s laps.

  6. NEW YORK (AP) ─ Comedy Central today announced the launch of a summer pilot to air Tuesdays at 8 ET through Labor Day.

    Set in the fictional town of Montclair, New Jersey, “Can Your Town Do This?” stars two highly acclaimed local actors, Sean Spiller (“Fargo,” “Dazed and Confused,” “Slacker”) and Peter Yacobellis (“The Music Man,” “Idiocracy,” “Rosemary’s Baby II”), and noted ensemble actors Frank Rubacky (“Grumpy Old Men”) and Dave Astor (“Grumpy Old Men II”).

    Episode One centers around a plot to blackmail “The Mayor” by Russian hackers, which is foiled by “The Councilor” who agrees to go undercover and meet with the leader of the hackers underneath the mysterious “Edgemont Memorial Bridge” in a dangerous part of town know as “The Park.” Hilarity ensues when The Councilor discovers that the hacker is in fact a student from Wayne Valley High School who has taken an elective course in computer science and was forced by the FBI-DHS-Montclair Security Authority Task Force to impersonate a Russian villain.

    Episode Two continues the hacker crisis narrative when The Mayor announces the cancellation of “The Election” in his annual “ Progress in Action/Protecting Democracy” speech and is challenged to a duel by The Councilor, which is immediately denounced by the “NoMoreDuelingMontclair.Org” activist wing of the local “NotInMyMontclair.Org” Political Action Committee, which hilariously turns out to be funded by the Political Action Committee.

    Parental Guidance Suggested.

  7. I had to Goggle their list of movies.

    With this at the front of your mind, I’m thinking maybe we deserve a lesser ranked movie. Considering our local circumstances, and all. I’m leaning towards The Big Lebowski, for the mistaken identities premise, meets Burn After Reading, the superficial comedy about protecting information.

  8. Montclair leadership must be purged. No amount of rules, regulations, or bogus consulting will remove this pox of incompetence and chicanery.

    Spiller, Burr, Nieves, Fan, Abrams, DeVito; it’s the Island of the Dysfunctionals!

    Snug in their self-made “Wall of Secrecy/Silence”, the Peanut Gallery – Yacobellis, Russo, Hurlock, Schlager, and Cummings – is no less complicit and responsible.
    I’m disgusted and feel like I’m in an alternate universe.

  9. Yes, Burn After Reading, lol. What the heck are they burning in Canada today? I was out earlier and thought Da Vinci Pizza blew up!

  10. Without knowing the extent of the breach, may have just been due diligence in announcing, and then following up with impacted individuals later.

    “Enacted in 2005, New Jersey’s data breach notification law requires any entity that compiles or maintains computerized personal information to notify affected individuals of unauthorized access to unencrypted or unsecured personal information. ”

  11. Vaughn,

    Not sure what you mean? You did read active investigation, right? That means certain things cannot be spoken about. I mean Peter would definitely speak during an active investigation, correct? Him and Russo do all the time. I’m sure the town didn’t have to say anything at this point.

  12. getitstraight,

    (1) I find your moniker misleading. (2) When there’s a security breach, private companies send notices to customers. Why is the Town of Montclair waiting 5 days to let residents know we got hit with ransomware? I heard about the breach from a friend who lives in Nutley way before Mayor Spiller decided to make his cryptic statement! What the hell??

    Our Council (save for Russo and Yacobellis) has a penchant for shrouding everything in secrecy. That’s why they and their town attorneys (Burr + Devito) got blasted by Judge Petrillo. I listened to the opinion he read on Friday. Scathing.

    Riker Danzig is a reputable law firm. But even the most reputable law firm is screwed dealing with Burr as in-house counsel.

    IT Director should get fired in short order if the ‘investigation’ finds that the dropped the ball.

  13. TBTF – your “summer pilot is hilarious! Can’t wait for summaries of episodes 3-10!

  14. My friend is the IT person for a NJ town and he says that municipalities are constantly under attack. When a hack happens at a town alerts go out to other IT departments. Montclair was a secondary breach. Someone was asleep at the switch.
    Hey, not everything is glum. Montclair is great at parades, festivals, and protests. As long as the town keeps putting lipstick on the pig no one will notice the foundation is crumbling.

  15. “Riker Danzig is a reputable law firm. But even the most reputable law firm is screwed dealing with Burr as in-house counsel.”

    This somehow reminds me I haven’t heard the ‘guns don’t kill, people do’ argument lately. My brain…a marvelous mystery.

  16. flipside: from your lips to God’s ears.

    I hope there’s a road to salvation for this tormented Town. Selective purging in Administration is a necessity. IT Director (one of Stafford ‘babies’) must go.

  17. TV-
    Private companies do not send notices for weeks or months. Look at Target or several others. Find out the situation, assess and then report. What gets me is that the Mayor reported and Yacobellis had to throw his 2 cents in. See how the rest of council stayed quiet. Why? It’s an investigation!

  18. getitstraight,

    I don’t care what Target does. I expect my Town Councilors to tell me when we get hacked. My taxes pay for their compensation.

  19. @ getitstraight

    Target? Really? You compare Montclair to Target? You’re not a ‘townie’ are you? You kinda sound like that other out-of-town guy who keeps defending the indefensible Glen Ridge fire deal – RDoyle, or something.

    Whoever you are, this Town mean something to us. Both Spiller and Yacobellis are ‘imports’. I, for one, wish they stayed where they came from. Montclair did just fine without them. Look at the mess we’re in now!

    Some advance the idea that Spiller was part of the Montclair Financial Renaissance that took place between 2012-2020. From my looking at it, Spiller just sat on that dais for 8 years and looked the part.

    I’ve met some politicians who are not effective. I’ve met some who are not effective but charming. Spiller is neither effective nor charming. Yacobellis is somewhat more likable but equally ineffective. Plus his vote extended the “potted plant” Burr till the end of the year. I find that inexcusable.

    My dream: Judge Petrillo moves to Montclair and runs in 2024. Along with Nancy Erika Smith. Both Spiller and Yacobellis are out.

  20. Winning imaginary slate: Jackson, Petrillo, Smith, Baskerville, Birmingham, Herron, Russo (he is harmless, he is a fixture, he didn’t steal health benefits, and he provides comical relief. Also, he would have an instant heart attack if taken off the Council.) This team would fix this town in a matter of weeks! Slam dunk. No more entertainment, smooth governance.

    Except that Jackson would be stupid to run in this messed up environment after his successful two terms. Judge Petrillo doesn’t live in town so he is out too. I’m told that David Herron would be good but someone who knows him said “he will never run”. I’m curious if Nancy Erika Smith is interested at all. She would be great.

    Other options (in no particular order): Lauren Berman, Lani Padilla, Mariana Horta, James Lukenda, Anju Uppal, Milt Horowitz, Christina Thomas, Mary Birmingham, June Raegner, Scott Kennedy, Deirdre Birmingham. Just off the top of my head.

  21. Nighty,

    I commented about Target because someone made a comment about the companies notify consumers that were hacked. So I mentioned them. Ummmm I was born and raised in Montclair. And loved the town I grew up in, however it’s not the same. It was ruined the moment they ran the train directly to NY.
    All the council members need to go, everyone of them. People forget that this government was put in place to be non partisan. The former commissioners were just too one sided in politics. This council is one sided and doesn’t get along at all. I miss Mayor Jackson and Joe Hartnett as a manager. Terry Reidy was also a good guy.

  22. @ getitstraight,

    I completely agree with you regarding Mayor Jackson. The man can run things. So can Joe Hartnett. Coincidentally, I hear that people are urging Jackson to run – so he can turn things around one more time. To make things more interesting, 6/13 agenda has a resolution authorizing hiring of Hartnett’s company (Government Strategy Group) as a consultant for “management and personnel services” ($50,000).

    I wonder what this all means and what is the purpose of it. Is this to displace Scantlebury? What about the new HR Director? There doesn’t seem to be performance issues with management or personnel right now so I don’t understand this move. Why didn’t they hire GSG when Stafford was screwing things left and right and the HR Director position was left vacant for 2 years? The whole thing doesn’t makes sense.

    At one of the recent meetings, there was a discussion of putting Fire Department under the same time/attendance controls as all other employees. I wonder if the push for hiring GSG is coming from the Fire Chief. He has always insisted on MFD having its own special rules and needed no oversight from HR or Payroll (shocking results of which we all came to learn about some months ago). Scantlebury is on board with stricter oversight at MFD and perhaps one of GSG’s tasks will be to ward that of. That, or perhaps their hiring yet another piece of brilliant advice from Paul Burr. Yikes.

  23. KNight – you are spot-on. I don’t know about the HR Director, but Spiller appears to despise Scantlebury. It can’t possibly have anything to do with performance given that Scantlebury took care of numerous outstanding items he “inherited” from Stafford. I wonder if Scantlebury’s “problem” is that he doesn’t do Mayor’s bidding? If so, he must go and GSG will make it happen. Apparently, Spiller is the new Mussolini.

    Makes one wonder just how much evil can this man inflict on Montclair in the year that he has left in office. Lame duck? Yes, but also a Mean Bird.

Comments are closed.