Jackson County prepares for soft reopening after ransomware attack | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jackson County officials announced Wednesday that they have made significant progress in their ongoing efforts to recover from a criminal ransomware attack that occurred on April 2.

County officials are tentatively preparing for a soft reopening of the Assessment, Collection, and Recorder of Deeds offices to the public on Tuesday, April 16.

In a release from Jackson County Wednesday afternoon, officials said the phased approach marks a significant step toward resuming normal operations while minimizing disruptions and protecting critical information.

“I’m trying to get a copy of a divorce decree, but I haven’t been able to, and I need it for my taxes,” said Jackson County resident Machelle Gleason. “So the 15th is coming up quickly. I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Dozens of people tried to stop by the Historic Truman Courthouse in Independence on Wednesday, and many were disappointed and frustrated when they saw the closure notice still on the doors.

“I am getting emails from folks adding new layers of complications to this scenario,” said Jackson County Legislator Manny Abarca. With the tax deadline looming, folks needing property tax receipts, some of the real estate deals that need to be closed, and marriage licenses.

Unfortunately, I’m not seeing the level of response that I’d like to see out of an organization like ours.”

If you need a marriage license before Jackson County offices reopen, you can apply for it in any county in the state.

“You do not have to apply in the county that you’re getting married. You can apply anywhere in the state as long as you get married in the state,” said Clay County Recorder of Deeds Sandra Brock. “So you can apply throughout any county in Missouri. Just remember, wherever you apply, if you ever need a copy of your marriage license, that’s where you’ll have to go back to get that copy.”

Since the ransomware attack on Jackson County’s systems, Clay County Recorder of Deeds Sandra Brock says they’ve seen an uptick in people applying for marriage licenses.

“I’m glad we can help in some way. I know it’s a stressful time. Of course, people are getting married and wondering what they’re going to do now that the county is down, and I’m glad we’re able to help that way,” Brock said.

County officials said in a release Wednesday afternoon that in the coming days, more details will be announced on the process for residents to receive assistance during this transitional period.

“When I asked the administration about what we are telling the public, I have no answer for them,” Abarca said. “Even responses to these individuals who are saying, well, should I file my taxes without a property tax receipt? Or should I wait and suffer penalties? I have no clear answer for them.“

In a statement, Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. said, “We are committed to ensuring a smooth and secure recovery process for our community. The soft launch of key offices is a testament to the dedication and expertise of our cybersecurity team who have been working around the clock to address the challenges posed by this criminal cyberattack. We appreciate the patience and understanding of our residents as we work diligently to restore normal operations.”


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