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Idaho County Experiences Network Outages Due to Malware

Departments in Twin Falls County, Idaho, are not able to operate normally because of a cyber attack. Because of the local court system’s current lack of activity, 275 hearings have been pushed to a later date.

(TNS) — County departments continue to operate on a limited basis this week as they deal with Internet and computer network outages caused by malware.

The county’s information technology staff, along with private cybersecurity experts, are working to determine what caused the technical disruption, Commissioner Jack Johnson said.

The FBI has also been notified of the disruption through the county’s insurance provider.

The malware came from an outside source, Johnson said, and the county has hired experts to determine where it came from. He said they expect they will not have answers for a few more days.

IT services and cybersecurity experts are putting safeguards in place to protect personal data and information contained in county records, in addition to investigating what caused this disruption.

“One of the big unknowns is if anything has been put at risk when it comes to personal information,” Johnson said.

Sheriff’s office employees first noticed issues with the county’s Internet and computer networks Saturday morning. The issue has persisted all week, and Johnson said he’s not sure when it’ll be resolved.

County phone lines also went offline for a period of time but have since been restored, Johnson said.

County email addresses are also working. The county has set up Internet hot spot devices in various offices so that some staff members are able to receive and respond to emails.

But departments are operating in limited capacities until this situation is resolved, Johnson said. Residents who need to complete business with the county should call the relevant department to check which services are available.

Along with county departments, the local court system has been affected by this disruption. Eric Wildman, administrative judge for the state’s Fifth Judicial District, issued an order Sunday limiting county court operations.

Under this order, courts in the county will only hold hearings on emergency matters, including in-custody arraignments, in-custody preliminary hearings, civil protection orders, emergency guardianship proceedings, child protection proceedings, adoptions, juvenile detention hearings and civil mental commitment proceedings.

Hearings on matters outside of the ones listed in the order are being postponed. This order will remain in effect until Wildman issues a new one.

Nate Poppino, spokesperson for the Idaho Supreme Court, said 275 hearings have been postponed as a result of this order. While these hearings are postponed, the parties involved can still file documents and respond to filings.

Additionally, residents can still review public court documents on a few courts at the county judicial building, Poppino said.

All other courts in the Fifth Judicial District, and elsewhere in the state, continue to operate as usual.

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