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Ransomware May Be to Blame for Missouri County Computer Woes

Some property-related offices in Jackson County, Mo., were closed Tuesday due to computer malfunctions. A ransomware attack, the county said in a statement, is “a potential cause,” but no data currently appears to have been compromised.

The 1934 Art Deco courthouse in Jackson County, Missouri is shown against a blue sky.
Jackson County Courthouse
File/The Kansas City Star/TNS
(TNS) — Jackson County’s assessment, collections and recorder of deeds offices were closed Tuesday morning due to computer malfunctions, which the county said was possibly attributable to some form of cyber attack.

Other county systems were unaffected. Nor did the glitch have any effect on either the Jackson County or Kansas City election boards on this Election Day.

The county said the disruptions were possibly attributable to a ransomware attack, which is when bad actors seize control of computer systems and demand a ransom before they relinquish that control.

“Early indications suggest operational inconsistencies across its digital infrastructure and certain systems have been rendered inoperative while others continue to function as normal,” the county said in a news release.

The systems affected included those handling tax payment and searches for online property data, marriage licenses and searches for inmates at the county detention center.

“At this time, we do not have any information suggesting that any data has been compromised,” the county said. “We are currently in the early stages of our diagnostic procedures, working closely with our cybersecurity partners to thoroughly explore all possibilities and identify the root cause of the situation.

“While the investigation considers ransomware as a potential cause, comprehensive analyses are underway to confirm the exact nature of the disruption,” according to the county’s statement.

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