County leaders look to beef-up cyber security

The Jasper County Sheriff is beefing up cyber security measures following a costly hack in central Indiana. WLFI/File Photo
The Jasper County Sheriff is beefing up cyber security measures following a costly hack in central Indiana. WLFI/File Photo

JASPER COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — The Jasper County Sheriff is beefing up cyber security measures. This follows a costly hack in central Indiana.

A couple of weeks ago, Madison County government servers were invaded by cyber attackers. County employees were locked out of their computers after hackers held the servers hostage, demanding a ransom.

Ultimately, the county paid a $30,000 ransom. But hackers wreaked havoc on the servers before turning them back over.

“These cyber attacks — they have 24 hours a day, seven days a week in which to attack and find weaknesses in the system,” Jasper County Sheriff Terry Risner said.

After that attack, Risner didn’t waste any time turning his attention to the topic. He is looking to move forward with preparations, in the case such an attack were to happen in Jasper County.

“In the long-run, it’s causing us to try to be effective and not lose data and not have to pay a ransomware perhaps,” said Risner.

After a meeting with Risner and an IT specialist, Jasper County commissioners approved extra precautionary measures.

“I wanted our commissioners to be aware as the executive branch of the government for Jasper County that there had been an attack, that we should, ya know, progressively seek measures that will try to limit the accessibility of these type of cyber attacks that are becoming all too frequent now,” Risner said.

Risner won’t go into detail for security reasons, but some of the ongoing measures include using the latest anti-virus software and replacing servers every five to six years.

He said although they can plan all they want, nothing can prepare them for the future.

“I trust our IT people, that doesn’t mean tomorrow, unfortunately. We could see something; we could see a hit. I would pray not, but the fact is you just have to learn from the system and the attack and try to do the best you can,” said Risner.

Risner said the increased security measures will go into place immediately.