Baxter County sheriff’s office hacked

Computer servers were isolated for repair, but should be working soon

A person types on a laptop keyboard in this June 19, 2017, file photo. (AP/Elise Amendola)
A person types on a laptop keyboard in this June 19, 2017, file photo. (AP/Elise Amendola)

An overseas hacking group accessed a Baxter County sheriff’s office computer server last week, Sheriff John Montgomery announced Thursday in a statement.

According to the statement, the sheriff’s office was notified of the hack on June 16 by an unnamed federal agency.

The server that was hacked contained official public and working documents. Some sheriff’s office databases and programs have been offline since June 16 as the situation has been addressed.

The federal agency reported that it contacted the sheriff’s office after it had detected transfers of data taking place between it and an overseas location.

After the hacking was discovered, IT specialists from three different companies were tasked with isolating the server and taking actions to get rid of any viruses or malware the hackers may have left behind. That is still taking place, according to Montgomery’s statement.

After the installation of new equipment, sheriff’s office officials say the affected databases, programs and files will be available for use in a few days.

According to the press release, the sheriff’s office and the IT specialists it used do not believe any of its data or records have been altered, modified or deleted by the hackers, but it’s possible they obtained personal identifying information on employees and other people.

“We are using this incident as an opportunity to improve our existing processes and strengthen our cybersecurity measures,” Montgomery’s statement said. “This incident is not related to the recent upgrade to our records management software and inmate roster feed.”

In addition to providing identity theft and credit monitoring for its employees as a precaution, the sheriff’s office will be sending notification letters to other people who could have possibly be affected.

Last week’s hack comes seven months after government agencies across the state were affected by a security breach of Apprentice Information Systems Inc.

This story has been updated. It was originally published at 5:13 p.m. under the headline "Hackers access information from Baxter County sheriff's office."