Rock County investigating ransomware attack

Rock County is investigating a cyber attack the administrative offices endured in early October.
Published: Oct. 24, 2023 at 10:45 PM CDT
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JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) - Rock County is investigating a cyber attack the administrative offices endured in early October.

According to Rock County Administrator Josh Smith, a “criminal actor” hacked into the county’s network database, encrypted some files and told the county they would have to pay $1.9 million to regain access.

Smith said the county’s technology team was able to restore access without paying the ransom fee.

He said the county is currently looking into how the hacker broke in, but would not share too many details because he wants to make sure nothing else is vulnerable first.

Smith said encryption was the main problem, meaning the hacker blocked the county from accessing these files, not that the hacker stole private information.

”So in this case, it’s not that everything they accessed was necessarily confidential private information, it’s just that they encrypted files that limits the ability to operate a system,” Smith said. “In the big scheme of things unfortunately we’re just an example of where we see more and more of these things these days.”

Smith said if his team finds out anyone’s private information was compromised, they will send out letters to those individuals.

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