October 23, 2020

Mississippi sheriff says ransomware attack ‘hit us hard’ after employee opens email attachment crippling servers

An apparent computer ransomware attack disabled computers and servers at the Adams County Sheriff Office on Friday.

Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten said he expects computers to be back up and running Tuesday morning after technicians worked through the weekend to restore the office’s computers and servers using the ACSO backup.

Patten said the computers affected were the Sheriff’s Office’s management system, phone lines, some remote desktops systems and the computer-aided dispatch system.

“It hit us hard,” Patten said.

Patten said an ACSO employee opened an attachment to an email Friday that allowed the virus to infect the ACSO computer system.

“When you have so many people using the CAD system, it was as simple as somebody opening up an email attachment,” Patten said.

Patten said, technicians have identified the virus as Ryuk ransomware — virus used to attack large organizations for high-ransom return.

Patten said the email, which appears to have originated from Korea, included a request for 12 bitcoins, or approximately $114,000, in order to get the computers back up and running.

Patten said, like the FBI, he doesn’t respond to ransom requests. Patten said the office’s computers and server were wiped clean and restored using the office’s backup.