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FBI Investigates Cyber Attack Against Ohio County Vendor

The vendor supplying Lawrence County, Ohio’s records management system was hit with a cyber attack Dec. 26. The incident caused service disruptions when company systems were taken offline to identify the source of the attack.

(TNS) — The Lawrence County Recorder's Office has been dealing with one of its vendors getting hit with a cyber attack.

On Saturday, Lawrence County Recorder Sharon Gossett Hager posted to Facebook that the FBI and Homeland Security were investigating a cyber attack aimed at Cott Systems, a Columbus-based company that provides government agencies with public records management software.

"As of now, there is no access to deeds, mortgages or other records filed electronically with the recorder's office," Gossett Hager posted. "While the investigation is being completed, they are also working with us to identify ways to securely rebuild processes and restore functionality. There are many steps involved in the recovery from this cyber attack."

It is the responsibility of the Recorder's Office to make a complete, accurate and permanent record of every document pertaining to the conveyance and encumbrance of land within Lawrence County. They also enforce more than 1,000 sections of the state law in the Ohio Revised Code pertaining to their duties.

Hager described Cott Systems as an industry leader for recording, imaging, and searching land and court records, with over 400 active systems across 21 states.

Cott Systems said they identified some unusual activity on its servers on Dec. 26.

"In an abundance of caution, we disconnected all of our servers to isolate that activity within our environment," the company said. "We then immediately engaged cyber specialists to investigate the event and they began a forensic analysis. It has been determined that Cott Systems is the victim of an organized cyber attack."

The company then notified the FBI and Homeland Security, both of which "indicated that they are aware of, and have been investigating, this particular group of criminals who operate worldwide. We will be sharing information as we proceed," the company said. It didn't state the name of the criminal group or what country they operated out of.

"We are working 24x7 with the forensic specialists to review all affected systems. While this is being completed, they are also working with us to identify ways to securely rebuild processes and restore functionality," Cott Systems said.

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