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Cyberattack hits Linn County websites

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CountySeal-STOCK.jpg

The seal of the Linn County government hangs in the board room for the Linn County Board of Commissioners. 

A cyberattack affecting various Linn County-operated websites is under investigation, local officials say.

The cyberattack was made public by Linn County commissioners at a meeting on Tuesday.

Commissioner Roger Nyquist said the incident was first discovered at 6 a.m. Monday, Jan. 24. The Linn County Sheriff's Department and the Linn County Health Department's websites were unaffected, he said.

Linn County's main website was among several others which were shut down early Monday morning to limit the spread of the ransomware, Nyquist said. He did not detail the range of county websites affected.

The Linn County and Linn County Clerk's websites were both down early Monday morning. They were still down as of Wednesday afternoon.

"Linn County is consulting with state, federal and private resources to respond to the incident as quickly as possible and get systems back online," Nyquist said reading from a news release. "At this time, there is no evidence that any public employee data has been compromised."

Ransomware is a type of computer virus that blocks access to personal data on a computer demanding a ransom for its restoration. The origin of the ransomware which infected Linn County's computers is unknown.

Officials would not say if a ransom demand was made.

Linn County departments can be reached by phone currently, Linn County Communications Officer Alex Paul said in a statement.

According to Matt Harrington, a spokesperson for the city of Albany, the ransomware attack on the county has what he described as "limited direct impact" on Albany. Harrington did not disclose further details on the attack or potential perpetrators.

Albany's IT staff disconnected the affected computers shared between Albany and Linn County, Harrington said. The staff then audited the city's internal networks and services for signs of compromise.

"City IT staff continues to monitor for indicators of compromise and will reestablish connections and services with the Linn County network once it is safe and secure to do so," Harrington said. 

The precautionary disconnections, according to Harrington, required the Albany Police Department to file records by hand after being disconnected from the Linn County District Attorney's Office.

Linn County officials will keep the public appraised of the situation, Paul said.

Tim Gruver covers the city of Albany and Linn County. He can be contacted at 541-812-6114 or Tim.Gruver@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter via @T_TimeForce. 

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