The hacking of Madison County records in November has prompted area counties to take another look at their cyber security.
Wayne County Commissioner Ken Paust said the county’s computerized records are well-protected, but after discussing the issue, commissioners decided to buy insurance to cover the county in the event of a ransom ware attack.
The insurance likely would cover the ransom a hacker might demand, Paust said. The cost for the one-year insurance policy is about $8,500, he said.
When Madison County’s computer system was hacked, its county employees were reduced to working with paper and pencils to conduct county business. Madison County, which is home to the city of Anderson, ultimately paid the ransom demanded by the hackers to restore their system, Paust said. Madison County had insurance to cover a hacking event, which was expected to cover most of the hacking ransom.
Paust said Wayne County has a considerable amount of its data secured off-site, which provides protection.
“Madison had lost most of their stuff, so they didn’t have much of a choice,” Paust said of paying the ransom. “We have better protection.”
Rich Rankin, who manages Wayne County’s IT department, does an excellent job of keeping the county’s data secure, Paust said. Anderson officials conferred with Rankin about their problems and how to solve them, according to Paust.
Union County commissioners last week met with Jeff Mathews, the county’s building inspector, unpaid computer technician and a founder of its opioid clinic, about the security of Union’s computer records.
Mathews said he’s already taken additional steps to prevent hacking of county records. The county is fortunate to have several different systems running different departments instead of a single server, Mathews said. Systems also are backed up daily, so no more than 24 hours of records could be hacked, he said.
“We’re pretty protected here,” Mathews said. “I’m pretty comfortable where we are.”
According to the Anderson Herald-Bulletin, Madison County commissioners now have approved off-site data storage, fire-wall protection and a back-up system for court data at a cost of almost $200,000. That’s in addition to the $21,000 ransom the county paid to be able to again use its computers. The attack impacted 600 individual computers in the Madison County system, the Herald-Bulletin said.