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Bingham County, Idaho, Recovers from Ransomware Attack

Following the attack, ransom demands were made for over $25,000.

Bingham County, Idaho, is still recovering from a large-scale ransomware attack that took servers down on Wednesday, Feb. 15, with issues remaining through Friday.

The unidentified hackers deployed malware that encrypted the city’s data, making it inaccessible. Following the attack, ransom demands were made for over $25,000.

Bingham County Commissioner Whitney Manwaring told that “every department in the county is affected in some way,” and that some departments have even resorted to handwriting documents.

“They have asked … to be paid through BitCoin or Western Union,” said Manwaring. “Either of those transactions would be difficult, if not impossible, to track.”

The county did not pay the ransom and began switching over to backup servers. The attack damaged the county website, emergency 911 calls and the county dispatch center. Dispatchers had to use their cellphones and physical maps to help direct officers to emergencies.

Problems continued on Friday morning when at least one backup severer became infected by the virus and the whole county was forced to go offline.

City officials worked through the weekend to rebuild their computer infrastructure to prevent future attacks — attacks that are becoming more prevalent in government. According to a report released in October 2016, approximately 10 percent of all ransomware attacks target public-sector organizations.