A computer attack against Vigo County likely was a ransomware attack, Brad Anderson, president of the Vigo County Board of Commissioners said Wednesday.

However, the county has backup data storage through several computer vendors and has been able to recover data.

"I don't think it was as bad as we thought, as we were able to retrieve most things, slowly but surely," he said.

"We had some data that was lost, but we were able to find it."

However, the county was still working Wednesday afternoon to get its computer systems back in full operation, Anderson said.

"No individual information was compromised that we can find, but we are still working.

"They have been working for 30 plus hours. We think it was ransomware, because it did lock some things out, but we have have not had a ransom demand yet. There will be some data loss, but non-essential things such as emails."

The county had security measures in place which included off-site data storage, Anderson said. The county treasurer and county auditor back up information daily and have been able to recover data.

The auditor's office, through its South Bend-based computer contractor Low Associates, brought in a separate computer server (a computer that provides data to other computers) to issue payment to employees for the county's payroll.

The county, Anderson said, reported the attack to the Indiana State Police and to the Indiana Secretary of State's office.

The system could be fully recovered by Monday, Anderson said, however, information technology personnel must go through at least 350 desktop or laptop computers and individually reboot each while running security and data checks.

"We have cyber insurance, so we are covered for costs," Anderson said.

Some services that were impacted included issuing construction permits, paying property taxes online, accessing emails and accessing certain data files, he said.

County Prosecutor Terry Modesitt estimated Wednesday that his office was operating at 20 percent to 25 percent of capacity with six computers restored, including two in the child support office.

"I will give credit to people who have been working tirelessly to restore service," he said.

With computers down on Tuesday, "we tried to go back to the stone age" and use law books to research case law when a defense attorney requested a mistrial due to witness statements in a burglary and theft case, Modesitt said.

While the judge in the case did eventually declare a mistrial, it was not directly related to the computer problems, he said.

Commissioners were initially informed of a ransomware attack on a computer in Superior Court Division 4 at 2:22 a.m. Tuesday. Anderson said the attack likely came through an email. Ransomware is a subset of malware, designed to deny access to a computer system or data until a ransom is paid.

Ransomware typically spreads through phishing emails or by a user unknowingly visiting an infected website. Payment is usually sought to provide a code to unlock computer data.

"We will look to protect ourselves with more (computer) security updates that we might need to do," Anderson said.

Dave Taylor contributed to this report.
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