October 18, 2019

Vigo County 9-1-1 Victim of Malware Virus

malware_virus

Several County Offices Hampered by Virus

Vigo County computer systems were recently attacked by a malware virus affecting several county departments including the 9-1-1 PSAP. On July 23rd, Vigo County government computers were attacked by a maleware virus. Most offices had to continue work without access to emails and in some cases without any computers while IT staff investigate individual computers for the virus. While no county offices were actually closed, some services were suspended.

Related Story: No email and significant work delays: Vigo County Government offices crippled with malware attack

Vigo County was the 2nd Indiana county hit by cyber attackers within the same month. On July 6, a virus attack was made on LaPorte County’s computer and server networks. In this case, the cyber attacker demanded a ransom payment in order to restore their computer systems back to LaPorte officials. Officials paid hackers $132,000 in Bitcoin currenty after FBI experts were unable to unlock the county’s data. Once paid off, the hackers gave the county a decryption key for county employees to access the locked computers.

Related Story: Indiana county pays $132,000 in computer attack ransom

Sheriff’s Office Computer Systems Attacked

In early August, Vigo County was hit again with another cyber attack, this time targeting the Sheriff’s Office computer systems and affecting the 9-1-1 PSAP’s computer aided dispatch (CAD) system. Additionally, the attack caused a temporary phone system outage.

Dispatchers said all the phone calls they could not get to were answered through Indiana State University and Parke County, who serve as back-ups. Sheriff John Plasse informed media outlets that the attack did not impact the agency’s ability to deliver law enforcement services. Although it was not a direct hit on public safety, it did cause some headaches for dispatchers.

Vigo County 911 Director Vickie Oster said they’ve had to resort back to old measures to get the job done. “We still don’t have a CAD system, but this is not something new to us. This has happened before. It’s a little more difficult, but we just have forms that we fill out. We write the calls down. We have forms we fill out, and then we just go back to dispatching like we always have,” said Oster.

No word yet on the recovery of Vigo County computer systems.

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