Miami County pays ‘ransom’ for computer threat

Published: Friday, September 04, 2015 @ 7:26 PM
Updated: Friday, September 04, 2015 @ 7:26 PM

Miami County’s IT department this week dealt with an “exposure” of a few county offices to a “ransom ware” threat sent via e-mail, Matthew Watkins, IT department director, said Friday.

The county ended up paying a $700 “ransom” through a security expert hired to assist in dealing with the situation after the experts said successful recovery of affected documents would be quicker and less costly if that route was taken, he said.

The ransom had to be paid through the “Bit-Coin” system through which funds cannot be traced.

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Among offices exposed was the county Communication Center, where the administrative network was affected, but not the secure 911 network, Jeff Busch, center director, said.

Watkins said a small number of non-essential documents were affected and no data was lost or stolen.

A report on the incident was filed with the sheriff’s department because of the request for payment, Watkins said. “We will never know where this originated or ended,” he said.

The cost to the county from the vendor, which handled the payment, is not yet known.