Harvey County officials are not sure where a cyber attack against the county's computer network was launched from — nor exactly what attackers intentions were.
"We do not know if anything was taken at this time. All we know is it affected our network," said Kyle McCaskey, public information officer/special projects coordinator for the county. ".. This in the hands of cybersecurity experts."
The county has struggled to restore a computer network at the courthouse, leading to some offices unable to offer some services — like the driver license office, vehicle tag renewals and others.
"If it has a computer, we probably can't do it," McCaskey said. "But 911 is available and is always available. Road crews are still putting up signs, the parks are open, transportation is making trips and the health department is able to see patients."
Emergency services including 911 and the Harvey County Sheriff's Office have not been affected.
The county announced Feb. 5 that the county computer network was targeted by a cyber attack.
Harvey County does not believe any personal information of its citizens or employees was compromised.
“Our No. 1 priority is keeping everyone’s personal information safe. We will strive to ensure that,” said Harvey County Administrator Anthony Swartzendruber. “We have worked and worked and worked to accomplish that, and will continue to do so.”
The cybercrime was discovered on Sunday, prompting the Courthouse to close on Monday. Though the incident was believed to be alleviated on Monday, additional concerns from the same cyber attack were identified on Tuesday.
County facilities are scheduled to remain open this week, but operations will be limited.
A limited portion of the network was disabled in the cyber attack. Harvey County is working with its insurance providers and cybersecurity experts to recover the information. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been notified.
The County utilized the full extent of its own resources and those established through local partnerships to correct the cyber attack, but additional resources will be required to completely eradicate the threat.
“We tapped into all of our local knowledge to combat this,” said LeeAnn Heim, Harvey County information technology director. “That said, this incident shows we still have a need for improvement, and we are addressing that.”
The County has backup systems in place, and also purchased additional network security within the past year. Those measures were beneficial to limiting the reach of the cyber attack.
“We apologize that this incident occurred. This is surely frustrating for our residents, and it is extremely frustrating for our staff, too,” Swartzendruber said. “Please be patient with us. We will get this fixed and restore our full services as soon as we are certain our network is secure.”
Essential emergency response services such as 911 and the sheriff’s office continue to remain operational. Other functions, such as the driver’s license office or vehicle tags, will not be available until the restoration of the network. If you have questions about the services of a particular department, please call us at 316-284-6800.