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Madison County Faces Day 5 of Ransomware Nightmare

Indiana’s Madison County is going on Day 5 of a ransomware nightmare.

Authorities there are trying to recover important files and documents after hackers compromised the county’s networks on Friday, blocking access to networks.

According to Madison County police, both first responders and civic officials are logging all calls for service by hand. Anderson Police, the Madison County Jail and the county court systems are locked out.

“We cannot query old information to bring up prior reports or prior court records,” said Madison County sheriff Scott Mellinger, speaking to the local FOX affiliate. “If we want to bring somebody’s record up for something in the future, let’s say for somebody that has been arrested or somebody who is even in jail then we cannot look up information that would help us at a hearing. On the sheriff’s office side, we cannot book people into jail using the computers. We are using pencil and paper like the old days.”

There is no word on how close the county is to resolving the issue; IT department head Lisa Cannon said that employees are working around the clock to recover files, while officers work to track down who is responsible for the attack. But the county is also speaking to its cyber-insurance provider—because paying the ransom is still very much on the table. The amount that the cyber-criminals are demanding has not been revealed.

“They are calling this a very significant event and that means whoever is behind it absolutely knows what they are doing and it is going to be extremely difficult for us to gain access of our servers on our own,” said Mellinger.

The good news is that officials do not believe that people’s personal or payment information is at risk—and, the voting system is on a separate network that was unaffected. Crucially, 911 is also unaffected.

It’s clear that this is a financially motivated effort, Cannon said. “The voting is not even kept on this network,” explained Cannon. “I don’t think this has to do with an election. I don’t think it has to do with crippling a certain department.”

Photo © Paul Vasarhelyi/Shutterstock.com

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