Ransomware attack hits Garfield County, shutting off access to government computers for weeks

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PANGUITCH — A ransomware attack hit Garfield County’s government computer systems, crippling the work of city personnel for weeks before they were able to pay to get access to their own data, officials confirmed to FOX 13.

“All of our data had been taken,” Garfield County Attorney Barry Huntington said of the recent data breach.

Someone clicked on a phishing email earlier this year that launched a ransomware attack, swiping up a number of county offices’ data and locking it away.

“The Assessor’s Office, the Recorder’s Office, some of the files had been taken and we didn’t know how or why,” Huntington said Thursday. “Eventually we received an email stating that some terrorists had taken our information and if we wanted it back, we had to pay them.”

In the meantime, many of Garfield County’s systems had been taken over by an unknown person. FOX 13 was told the courts, elections and Sheriff’s Office were not impacted.

The state severed access to its systems, and the FBI got involved. Many county offices were reduced to working with pen and paper.

“We were told to leave our computers off while the FBI and the state looked into it,” Huntington said. “We tried to do the best we could with handwritten files and things like that. Computer-wise, we were shut down.”

Garfield County ultimately paid a ransom to someone in Bitcoin to get access to its files, phones and systems again, the county attorney said. Access was restored in March.

Read the full story here:  Fox13Now.com.

Written by BEN WINSLOW, Fox13Now.com.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2019, KSTU, a Tribune broadcasting station.

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