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Ohio County Computer System Recovers from Malware Attack

Clark County, Ohio, officials say that a solid majority of their IT operations have been restored following the onset of a malware attack that caused most of their servers to go down earlier this month.

(TNS) — Clark County officials say that a majority of their operations have been restored since a malware attack caused most of their servers to go down earlier this month.

Mike Cooper, a spokesperson for the county, said that the county's major computer systems are back online. However, the county's information systems department are still trouble shooting some minor issues.

Cooper said one example of those minor issues is that the county had to cancel specialty recycling this week at its solid waste district.

But major operations such as online payments and record searches have since been fully restored by the county.

Malware activity was discovered two weeks ago. It caused the county's networks to go down on May 13 and impacted departments as well as the offices of elected officials associated with county government.

The county's email server was back online a few days after the incident and services such as payroll and 911 communication were not impacted by the malware activity.

Operations such as the Clark County Board of Elections were also not impacted by the malware activity.

County representatives said they were monitoring the situation and had engaged their IT and cybersecurity providers to review their systems and ensure they are secure.

However, a list of which services and servers were directly impacted by the malware activity has not been released to the public due to security concerns, Cooper said.

But he did mention that there is no indication that the public's information had been compromised.

An investigation is being conducted regarding the source and overall impact of the malware activity and the county is working with third-party cybersecurity consultants as well as members of local law enforcement.

Malware is a type of computer program that is typically surreptitiously uploaded into a computer network and which then accesses files and can interfere with a network's normal operations, copy data or damage files and other programs. Malware can come into a network through bogus emails, downloaded programs off of infected websites, or from infected portable data storage devices like thumb drives.

"As we evaluate things we want to make sure that anything we bring back online has not been compromised," Clark County Commissioner Melanie Flax Wilt previously told the News-Sun.

Cooper said that many services impacted by the county's servers going down have since returned.

Residents are again able to make utility payments.

The Clark County Community and Economic Development Department has also restored its online services.

Due to the malware activity there was a period were that department was asking customers to drop off building, planning and zoning documents to the Springview Government Center. It had also asked customers to pay in-person with cash or check.

Clerk of Courts Melissa Tuttle said her office has been able to restore most of its services such as updating cases online, searching for cases by name of parties involved as well as updating court costs.

© 2021 Springfield News-Sun, Ohio. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.