Town computers hacked, ransom demanded

By Louis Bettcher | Apr 18, 2018
Photo by: Louis Bettcher Rockport Town Office

Rockport — The Rockport Town Office was closed April 17 as the result of a computer virus, which affected the municipality's computer servers. According to a press release sent by town manager Rick Bates, the virus was sent on Friday, April 13.

"On Friday the 13th the Rockport Town Office was hit with a serious virus that effected our server and our off-site back up. There was no theft of data that occurred, but files were encrypted in an attempt to get us to pay a ransom to get the encryption removed," reads the statement.

Information technicians worked throughout the weekend to restore the encrypted data and are currently working to rebuild the town's computer network. Bates said that the town office was closed in order for employees to re-enter transactions from April 13 and tax payments, before the office could begin processing new transactions.

The Rockport Town Office reopened at 10 a.m. on April 18. Bates said that the town's information technician was able to rebuild the town office's servers and recover all of the data from the computers with the exception of data from April 13 because the virus prevented it from being backed-up. This information has since been re-entered.

"I'm not sure what the [ransom] demand said, as it was a file found by the IT guy in the server. We did not pay the ransom. There are no leads, as it could be a computer anywhere in the world," said Bates on April 19. The virus was able to bypass software and firewalls installed on Town Office computers to prevent such threats.

Bates said that the Rockport Police Department is not investigating the matter, and does not have officers trained in such instances of computer hacking. He said that an investigation would have been conducted if it was felt that the virus was sent internally, from someone at the town office.

Bates said that none of the computers at the Rockport Police Department, the Rockport Fire Department, the Rockport Opera House or the Public Works Department were affected by the virus. He added that although the town's data was encrypted, none of it was stolen.

Comments (3)
Posted by: Valerie Wass | Apr 23, 2018 15:42

Nothing happened with the tax payers money.    Trying to find the hacker is like looking for a needle in a haystack worse even.  Seems that the article is being twisted.

 



Posted by: Susan Vanorse | Apr 20, 2018 09:54

Not investigating, so it is okay for for any one to hack into the town office as long as you do not do it while you work there, nice to know!



Posted by: Dale Hayward | Apr 19, 2018 08:59

In this age of technology-------------------------and all the taxpayers money-----------------------what a trip.



If you wish to comment, please login.