Grace Hewitt, Katie Shatsby, and Emily Lewis
HUBER HEIGHTS, Ohio (WDTN) — The city of Huber Heights is continuing to deal with the effects of a ransomware attack that happened over the weekend.
The attack not only affected the residents of Huber Heights but city officials as well.
“Not being able to use your normal technology is is a game changer in terms of doing your job.” said Richard Dzik, city manager. “But city staff is really working on backlog projects that they can do without technology.”
According to the city of Huber Heights, temporary access devices have been distributed to all departments within the city.
Forensic evidence collection for the incident began on Tuesday and is expected to continue for the following one to two days. City officials say the full recovery process can take up to weeks or even months.
2 NEWS spoke with Shawn Waldman, CEO of Secure Cyber Defense. He says when it comes to ransomware attacks, recovering becomes a waiting game.
“The delay is the forensic process, which it takes a while to gather all that and then it takes a while to get the results back so that you can understand, ‘Okay, well, who was it? How did they get in?’ And, you know, all those things that everybody wants to know,” Waldman said.
On Monday, Huber Heights City Council approved funding of $350,000 to make sure that something like this doesn’t happen again.
“Address the current situation, obviously, and all the expenses associated with that,” Dzik said. “And then it’s going to start the process of upgrading our systems. That’s a longer term thing. And so it’s possible that we will be budgeting next year to continue that upgrade.”
Waldman says cyber attacks like this have occurred more than they should. In order for businesses and local governments to avoid becoming victims, cybersecurity needs to be a discussion at everyone’s table.
“Really it’s just emphasizing that in today’s age, everyone needs to put a focus on cybersecurity,” Waldman said. “You know, there’s a lot that goes on from a nation or state perspective. War is happening. There’s a lot of critical infrastructure that gets tied to, you know, to local government.”
The city is continuing to work with local and federal agencies to recover from the attack.
Zoning, permitting and code enforcement are expected to be fully operational by Wednesday, Nov. 15. The city will continue to announce when other services become available.
Also on Nov. 15, residents can resume filing permits. The city said residents can either print out the documents and bring them to City Hall or fill out the application online. Residents are encouraged to bring in payment — either cash or check– during this time.
The city also provided an update on utility payments, saying residents can make payments at the Water Department office located at 6244 Chambersburg Road with cash or check as well as their billing statement. Online payments are currently on hold and late penalties and disconnections have been suspended through the end of November.
The city will reportedly continue to provide updates on the situation daily at 2 p.m.