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Joplin, Mo., City Government Suffers Ransomware Attack

The Joplin Police Department notified the local newspaper on Wednesday morning that the city’s computers were down, and as such, the newspaper would not be able to access the local crime reports.

(TNS) — Joplin city government’s computer system developed some sort of issue Wednesday that shut down both its online and phone services.

The Joplin Police Department notified the Globe on Wednesday morning that its computers were down and the newspaper would not be able to access crime reports.

Asked if the department had fallen victim to a cyberattack, Capt. Will Davis said the city’s information technology staff was working on what the issue was but had yet to determine the source of the problem.

The city subsequently put out a news release stating that the system was “down,” shutting down both online and phone services since city phones are internet-based. The statement emphasized that the 911 system remains operational.

Municipal court was forced to cease operations for the day due to a resulting inability to conduct case work.

Other city services affected by the issue:

—Online payments for trash and sewer bills or court fines could not be made. The city said residents could still make payments in person with a check or cash.

—The planning and zoning department’s front counter remains open for business, with applications accepted there. Payments need to be in the form of cash or checks and not cards.

—All services remain available at the building division’s front counter, including the scheduling of inspections and the issuance of building permits, with payments limited to cash or checks.

—Service is being provided and complaints accepted at the counter of the code enforcement desk, with phone and “See Click Fix” services down for the time being.

—Case investigations for communicable diseases through the health department will be conducted on a limited basis until the issue is resolved, according to the release. Other services to be provided on a limited basis are the WIC program, temporary Medicaid applications, vital records, animal control dispatch and some vaccinations. The city said COVID-19 vaccinations will still be available. Help with emergency situations, such as dog bites, should be sought through 911.

—Enrollments and payments for parks and recreation programs can be made in person at the Joplin Athletic Complex. Schifferdecker pool will remain open on a cash-only basis, and there will be no changes in golf course operations.

—Public transportation services are affected, with the Sunshine Lamp Trolley operating on its normal routes but unable to provide deviations from those routes and MAPS unable to run scheduled trips due to the outage. MAPS will continue offering same-day service for residents who call 417-626-8607 to make arrangements.

—The Joplin Municipal Airport will continue operations as normal.

© 2021 The Joplin Globe (Joplin, Mo.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.