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3 April 2024, 1:00 pm

Missouri County Declares State of Emergency Amid Suspected Ransomware Attack

Missouri County Declares State of Emergency Amid Suspected Ransomware Attack

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Jackson County, Missouri, has declared a state of emergency and closed key offices indefinitely as it responds to what officials believe is a ransomware attack that has made some of its IT systems inoperable. "Jackson County has identified significant disruptions within its IT systems, potentially attributable to a ransomware attack," officials wrote Tuesday. "Early indications suggest operational inconsistencies across its digital infrastructure and certain systems have been rendered inoperative while others continue to function as normal." The systems confirmed inoperable include tax and online property payments, issuance of marriage licenses, and inmate searches. In response, the Assessment, Collection and Recorder of Deeds offices at all county locations are closed until further notice. The closure occurred the same day that the county was holding a special election to vote on a proposed sales tax to fund a stadium for MLB's Kansas City Royals and the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs. Neither the Jackson County Board of Elections nor the Kansas City Board of Elections have been affected by the attack; both remain open. The Jackson County website says there are 654,000 residents in the 607-square-mile county, which includes most of Kansas City, the biggest city in Missouri. The response to the attack and the investigation into it have just begun, but so far, officials said they had no evidence that data had been compromised. Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. has issued (PDF) an executive order declaring a state of emergency. The County has notified law enforcement and retained IT security contractors to help investigate and remediate the attack. "The potential significant budgetary impact of this incident may require appropriations from the County's emergency fund and, if these funds are found to be insufficient, the enactment of additional budgetary adjustments or cuts," White wrote. "It is directed that all county staff are to take whatever steps are necessary to protect resident data, county assets, and continue essential services, thereby mitigating the impact of this potential ransomware attack."

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