Malware attack investigation continues

By Jennifer Woods -

Fayette County Commissioner Dan Dean shared an update this week pertaining to the Malware attack on the county’s computer system.

The Malware that infiltrated the system on June 23 was identified as Ransomware. The concept behind Ransomware is to lock users out of their information until they pay a ransom to regain access. Attacks such as this have been increasing in recent years and paying the ransom doesn’t always work, according to Dean.

The investigation into the situation is still ongoing. So far, no evidence has been found of personal public or employee information being lost. The insurance covers the forensic attorney and investigative team, which are helping to check for any breaches of information.

Fayette County Public Health has a separate system from the county but it did share one server. As it was impacted by the situation as well, there is a separate ongoing investigation being completed by the Public Health’s insurance company.

Dean said, “we’re continuing to get people back online here. On our side, most everybody has their email now and access to data.”

The cost of new security measures, updated equipment, getting rid of older equipment and staff cost to handle this issue will be released at a later time.

“We’re trying to keep track of the cost of everything that’s involved including employee time, overtime, equipment that’s either been ruined or destroyed,” Dean explained. This includes equipment that required repairing but was replaced instead due to needing updates. All equipment with Windows 7 or older was removed and replaced with Windows 10 or newer.

During a meeting between the Fayette County Commissioners and Congressman Mike Turner (R-OH) on Monday, Turner congratulated the commissioners for not paying the ransom to regain access.

They discussed how there has been an increase of attacks in recent years and that paying ransoms does not ensure access is regained. The amount of money asked for to regain access to the county system has not been publicly released, although it was mentioned to be a significant amount.

Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355. Woods | Record-Herald file photo

By Jennifer Woods