Malware is something that you never want to see on your computer. At it’s worst, it can take your personal information, and leave your finances in the hands of hackers.
So imagine what Ingham County officials thought when they realized that a virus attacking their computers had his 1,600 of their work stations.
This is a county-wide problem. Affecting more than just the County Clerk.
This is the Sherriff’s Office, the Health Department, the Prosecutor’s Office… any type of government official in Ingham County that uses the county’s computer network.
6-News spoke with the County Controller, Tim Dolehanty, who says it all started Friday, when the IT Department noticed a virus on just a few computers.
The staff thought they had it taken care of until Saturday, when the virus reappeared. That’s when the IT Department made the decision to shut the network down.
Just before midnight last night, government workers in Ingham County received an email, advising them there were concerns with the network, and they should not log onto their computers Monday morning.
After serious concerns over whether or not the public’s information would stay private, the Ingham County Clerk’s Office wanted to prevent it from getting in the wrong hands.
“I have social security numbers, I have birth dates, I have legal names, I have a lot of personal sensitive data that I hold secure and safe here at the County Clerk’s Office,” says Ingham County Clerk, Barb Byrum.
Byrum says, she wanted to take precautionary measures, she wasn’t sure what this virus was doing or who it was attacking, so she closed the Clerk’s Office.
“We worked on some other duties that we needed to have done in the office, but we’re very limited on what we can do when our computers are not operable,” says Byrum.
But this is more than just a computer virus. Dolehanty says, this is malware.
Designed to specifically look for things such as banking codes, and financial information. Lurking on hard-drives, silently watching in the background.
Dolehanty says, because each county computer is hooked up to the network, the malware was jumping from one hard-drive to the next. Impacting nearly 1,600 different workstations and taking anywhere from 15-minutes to an hour to fix each machine.
“It is taking a very long time to scrub the computer, and then depending on what is going on with that computer, it could take even longer. So we are not able to serve the public, at this time,” says Byrum.
Byrum wants to assure the public this will not impact the process of tomorrow’s election results for East Lansing and Haslett Public Schools.
Dolehanty says no data has been compromised at least, as of this moment.