A county located in the US state of Oregon has been struck by a ransomware attack, resulting in its county computers being shut down.
On Wednesday, January 22, a malware attack infected the Tillamook County’s IT government computers. Subsequently, the county’s server and internal computer systems were shut down. The cyberattack also impacted phone systems and email networks.
The Tillamook County website, which hosts numerous departments, was also shut down. To prevent the spread of malware, computer network connections were disabled.
The Emergency Communications District dispatch and 911 services were not impacted.
County Commissioner Mary Faith Bell explained that the attack was initially suspected to be a technical fault with the storage system. However, it was soon after identified as a ransomware attack.
“We hope that we contained it, and that it’s not spreading outside our system, but it’s possible that it’s still moving around inside our system,” Bell said.
A forensic computer firm, Arete Incident Response was contracted by the county to investigate the attack.
The cost of the ransom has not been revealed. Although it has been disclosed that on Monday, Tillamook County commissioners voted unanimously to negotiate with the threat actors for an encryption key.
“Tillamook takes the security of the information entrusted to us very seriously. We are taking steps to prevent a similar event from occurring in the future, including strengthening security measures,” the county statement said. “Although we are not at liberty to share many details about this matter at this time, we will provide a further update once the investigation is complete.”
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