Luzerne County, Pa., Finds Workaround for Deed Recording

With the county database offline since a cyberattack in late May, the real estate and title search businesses in the county had been in limbo. Title searches are not possible without access to deed records.

by Eric Marck, The Citizens' Voice / June 20, 2019
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(TNS) — A workaround discovered Wednesday will allow Luzerne County to record deeds for the first time since a cyberattack forced the shutdown of the county computer network three weeks ago, according to county Manager David Pedri.

A property assessment database has still not been restored, but the workaround utilizing the software program Landex will allow deed searches, a vital component of real estate transactions, Pedri said.

With the county-wide database out of commission since late May, the real estate and title search businesses in the county had been in limbo, because title searches are not possible without access to deed records.

Recorder of deeds office employees will process documents in the order in which they were received and will work overtime through the weekend, Pedri said.

The backlog is so great that the office will likely not be fully caught up by Monday, he said.

Pedri encouraged members of the public to submit filings online when possible, or to visit the office in person this week.

County information technology workers and consultants will continue their efforts to restore the assessment database, but there is no timetable for its restoration, Pedri said.

County officials shut down much of the county’s computer system after it was discovered on May 25 that a virus had infected some computers connected to the network. Computer access has been restored to nearly all county departments and offices, with the exception of the assessment database, according to Pedri.

The county hired the computer security firm Arete Advisors to assist with the restoration effort and a forensic investigation that is expected to begin soon.

The county’s general liability insurance policy includes coverage for a cyberattack, so the county only needed to pay a $10,000 deductible toward the cost of Arete Advisors’ services.

©2019 The Citizens' Voice (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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