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Old 04-12-2019, 02:11 PM
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Default NYC’s scandal-plagued tech czar (from INDIA) resigns in wake of network crash

https://nypost.com/2019/04/11/nyc-te...-cyber-attack/

NYC tech commissioner left Atlanta job shortly before crippling cyberattack
By Bruce Golding
April 11, 2019 | 8:41pm | Updated April 11, 2019 | 11:47pm



City Hall’s bumbling tech czar previously held a similar job in Atlanta — which was crippled by a cyberattack shortly after he left for the Big Apple.

Samir Saini, who’s enmeshed in a scandal over an entirely preventable crash of the city’s in-house wireless network, was Atlanta’s chief information officer when Mayor Bill de Blasio named him head of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications in January 2018.

Less than two months after he started the job, Atlanta shut down all of its government computers for five days to prevent the spread of a virus that was detected on March 22, 2018.

The cost of recovering from that attack, blamed on a pair of Iranian hackers, was estimated at $17 million.

A city official told The Post on Thursday that the combination of incidents meant Saini “should be fired” from his $226,366-a-year post.

“What happened in Atlanta should have shown City Hall that he was punching above his weight. And then he went ahead and proved it,” the official said.

Emails obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News revealed that officials had discussed earlier cybersecurity incidents during 2017, including one in which a computer was infected with a ransomware virus.

Cybersecurity expert Tony UcedaVelez, CEO of Atlanta-based VerSprite, told the news organizations that the correspondence “tells me they didn’t do enough triaging of the security threat that was found a long, long, long time ago.”

“There’s definitely some negligence,” UcedaVelez said at the time.

Following Saini’s appointment, the city also hired Saini’s former street-shi tterchief deputy in Atlanta, Vijay Gogineni, as DoITT’s chief operating officer in June 2018 at a salary of $210,000.

City Hall and DoITT wouldn’t comment on Saini’s and Gogineni’s tenures in Atlanta.

Saturday’s crash of the city’s “NYCWin” Wi-Fi network occurred due to a failure to upgrade its software ahead of a long-expected “rollover event” similar to the Y2K bug.

The shutdown came despite a warning issued last year by the Department of Homeland Security and media reports last month by The Post and other outlets.

DoITT pays the Northrop Grumman Corp. about $40 million a year to operate NYCWiN..

On Thursday, a DoITT spokeswoman said the system would be back up “this weekend.”

Earlier, de Blasio wouldn’t assign blame for the embarrassing snafu, saying, “sometimes there’s going to be mistakes.”

The mayor absolved himself of any responsibility for the shutdown, which cut remote access to the city’s traffic lights and shut down some traffic cameras and NYPD license-plate readers.

“I was not involved in the planning. It was not something that came up to my level,” he said.
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Old 06-14-2019, 02:11 PM
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Default Re: NYC tech commissioner left Atlanta job shortly before crippling cyberattack

https://nypost.com/2019/06/14/nycs-s...network-crash/

NYC’s scandal-plagued tech czar resigns in wake of network crash
By Julia Marsh and Rich Calder
June 14, 2019 | 3:29pm



Mayor de Blasio’s tech czar resigned Friday following a damning Post report that he allowed the city’s official wireless network to crash in April despite federal warnings about a looming, Y2K-like software bug.

“It’s been an honor to serve as DoITT’s Commissioner and Chief Information Officer and lead an incredible team tasked with delivering services critical to the core functioning of New York City government,” said outgoing Commissioner Samir Saini in a letter.

He is returning to the private sector after a decade working for the government. He joined the de Blasio administration in January 2018, after leaving a similar job in Atlanta.

Saini said in the two-paragraph note to Deputy Mayors Dean Fuleihan and Laura Anglin that he enhanced “services to over 100 City agencies.” But he failed to mention the network collapse that prevented transit officials from remotely operating the Big Apple’s 12,000-plus traffic lights as well as many traffic cameras and NYPD license plate readers.

“Sometimes there’s going to be mistake,” de Blasio said in the days after the crash.

The mayor later changed his position, calling the embarrassing gaffe unacceptable. The network was down for a week.

The Department of Homeland Security warned in 2018 that GPS-enabled devices could be hit by a time counter “rollover event.”

A statement from a mayoral spokeswoman also ignored the major screw-up.

“Under Samir’s leadership, DoITT has grown considerably. In his year and a half of service, Samir established five new agency divisions, launched key web applications, expanded cell service to underserved communities across New York City and more,” de Blasio spokeswoman Laura Feyer said Friday.

Eusebio “Seb” Formoso, chief information officer for the Department of Finance, will lead the tech agency until the mayor finds a new commissioner.
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