Cyber-attack affects several northern Arkansas county offices – KY3




HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) – A recent cyber attack against Apprentice Information Systems has affected many of the Arkansas government offices, including those in Boone County.
Many counties in the state use the company to store data for offices such as the tax collector, assessors officer, clerk, and treasurer. Once the potential breach was discovered, most county offices were notified on November 5.
“It’s exciting to refer to something as a hack, this as a potential security breach, which wasn’t really an actual breach,” said Doug Matayo, the representative for Apprentice. “Just to be safe once an incursion became aware, they instructed county, out of caution, to pull down their systems to make sure there were no issues with their networks.”
Matayo says the precautionary steps were to avoid further threats while ensuring the data was safe.
“County residents’ personal data is not stored at any of these county offices,” said Matayo. “So aside from the electronic disruption that came, as a result, is the only effect. Any person’s information that isn’t already protected was not ever in jeopardy. “
The Boone County Collector’s Office is one of the many affected offices and needed to find other ways of operation for the last few weeks.
“They started contacting counties, the people they had the phone numbers for, and we started shutting servers down as a precaution,” said County Collector Amy Jenkins. “The first couple of days were difficult just figuring out how to do everything manually. But we were issuing manual receipts for cash and for a check.”
The last few weeks have been difficult for Amy Jenkins and her office at the Boone County Collector’s Office, a breach of their information provider’s server led to them having to shut down all computers.
“The first couple of days were difficult just figuring out how to do everything manually. But we were issuing manual receipts for cash and for a check.”
The origin of the attempted hack is still being investigated by Apprentice Information Services, which says a majority of the steps taken were precautionary.
“All of our data and everything with our server is good,” said Jenkins. “But as an extra precaution, they’ve wiped all of our workstations and re-imaged them as well.”
Jenkins solidified the comments from Apprentice, saying county offices don’t keep any sensitive information on record.
“We are a public office, so everything that we hold here is open for public inspection anyways,” she said. “We don’t have social security numbers on file. We don’t have birthdates. Nothing like that is going to be compromised.”
According to Jenkins, information dealing with credit card transactions is the only compromisable material done through a system entirely separate from Apprentice and not breached.
As of Friday, Apprentice says 95% of the affected counties have online servers. Boone County servers were back online Monday; however, they can still not accept credit card payments.
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