CROWN POINT — More than two weeks after a cyber attack on the Lake County Government Center forced a shutdown of email service and internal applications, the county police email is back up and running, officials said.

The Lake County Sheriff's Department email system is fully functional, but other county government center email capabilities have not yet been restored, said Mark Pearman, director of the county's information technology office.

On Tuesday, Lake County Sheriff's Department employee's email accounts were able to once again send and receive messages, Pearman said. On Friday morning the department's webmail, in which employees receive emails submitted through the Lake County Sheriff's website, was fully functional.

Previously, Lake County Police Chief William Paterson told The Times that the situation was becoming a safety hazard for his officers because they rely on information from outside law enforcement agencies.

Pearman said as for the other email systems still down, the IT department is hoping to restore them by Monday or early next week. Without email, Lake County employees have been relying on “phone, faxes and the shoe leather express,” Larry Blanchard, an assistant to the Lake County commissioners previously told The Times.

On Aug. 22, systems administrators first noticed the ransomware on some county computers. Ransomware is a type of malicious software that denies access to computer systems until a ransom is paid to the attacker. But county officials have said no ransom has been or will be paid to the “cyber pirates.” There was no data theft from county servers and communications, Pearman said.

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Lake County's cybersecurity contractor, Crowdstrike, conducted a damage assessment, scanning all county servers and computers to determine which, if any, have been corrupted.

Pearman said the 3,000 desktop computers and 50 to 60 servers were not infected by the ransomware's attack.

"There is currently an electronic investigation to see where it came from and how we got it,” Pearman said. “We got lucky with just the email being affected.”
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