Jackson Co. Assessment Department closed amid ransomware attack while already dealing with long wait times | #ransomware | #cybercrime

JACKSON COUNTY, Mo. (KCTV) – On Tuesday, Jackson County confirmed a ransomware attack disrupted several county services, including the Jackson County Assessment Department.

This attack caused the county locations for the Assessment, Collection and Recorder of Deeds Offices to close on Tuesday until further notice.

The Jackson County and Kansas City Election Boards are not affected by this attack, according to the County’s statement.

The closure of multiple offices left many frustrated as they made their way to downtown or the Historic Truman Courthouse.

Phillis Hampton was waiting for an appointment with Jackson County Notary Services and got a text in the early afternoon to arrive at the Historic Truman Courthouse.

“Thanks your estimated time is now one minute, one minute for what,” said Phillis Hampton.

She said she called beforehand because she had heard of the ransomware attack.

“I called and she said yeah I’ve got your paperwork and just come on down and be here at your appointed time,” said Hampton.

But when she arrived, the doors were locked.

READ MORE: Ransomware attack targets Jackson County IT systems, Frank White issues state of emergency

A situation many ran into on Tuesday.

“They’ve had a lot of problems,” said Jackson County taxpayer, Jim Fitzpatrick.

He drove into town to try and figure out his property tax documents for the senior property tax freeze program.

“We live 15 miles away from here we don’t come to town only when we have to,” said Fitzpatrick.

He said he’s going to have to come back when they reopen.

This ransomware attack follows months of long lines and wait times at the Assessment Department.

The attack impacted tax payments and online property, marriage licenses, and inmate searches.

“You can’t hide from these situations, good, bad, or indifferent, the reality of leadership is you gotta be present,” said Jackson County Legislator, Manny Abarca IV.

Legislator Abarca said he wants more to be done because he believes the impact to the assessment department could be catastrophic.

“There were conversations yesterday with the state auditors office that talked about the already exposed gaps that are in the assessment office now the reality now that we have new exposure from potentially outside agencies it is concerning,” said Legislator Abarca.

Jackson County Executive Frank White Jr. issued an Executive Order declaring a State of Emergency.

This order he said is to facilitate financial flexibility to address the emergency and he mandated immediate action from County staff to ensure the protection of residents’ data.

The county shared Tuesday afternoon that the confirmed ransomware attack had a rapid response in mitigating the impact by the county’s Information Technology (IT) Department.

They added multiple systems will stay offline to ensure the integrity of the network.

The Assessment, Collection and Recorder of Deeds offices at all county locations will be closed Wednesday and likely, the rest of the week.

The county’s partner PayIt, a platform for government services and payments, secures and stores sensitive financial information for Jackson County and shared a statement regarding the attack:

“Jackson County works with PayIt to offer resident engagement and payment services for property taxes, marriage licenses, and other various payable items. The service is hosted completely outside Jackson County systems, and we have confirmed that the myJacksonCounty system has not been impacted by the incident. No customer data in myJacksonCounty has been compromised.”

The County plans to release more information on Wednesday.

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