BREAKING UPDATE : Ransomware attack closes Clay County Courthouse

Wednesday, July 10, 2024 ~ Updated 1:07 PM

UPDATE 071224 Friday 11:35 a.m.

Clay County Commissioner’s Press Release regarding ransomware attack.

July 11, 2024

Due to the ongoing office disruptions at the Clay County Courthouse and Clay County Probation/Community Corrections caused by a cyber incident, the Clay County Commissioners have determined that it is necessary to file a Local Disaster Declaration. This declaration will be in effect for the next seven days.

You can leave a message for our team by calling 812-512-1671 or emailing claylcountyinconcerns@gmail.com.

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UPDATE NEW PRESS RELEASE - Clay County Courthouse Operations Remain Temporarily Suspended Following Ransomware Attack

Clay County Commissioners Press release July 10, 2024

The Clay County Courthouse operations will remain temporarily suspended due to the ongoing investigation and mitigation efforts following a significant ransomware attack that initially compromised our systems shortly after midnight on July 9, 2024.

Upon discovering the attack, county officials immediately took mitigation efforts to prevent further damage and protect sensitive data. We are working closely with leading cybersecurity experts and federal authorities to resolve the situation and ensure the security of our digital infrastructure.

Continued Suspension of Services

Due to the complexities of the recovery process, all offices at the Clay County Courthouse will continue to be closed. This closing includes all legal proceedings and services at the Clay County Prosecutor’s Office and both Circuit and Superior Courts. If you have a scheduled court date, you should call the court in which your matter is scheduled on Monday, July 22 between 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM. Additional instructions will be given in a press release on Friday, July 12, 2024, if the courts have to remain closed on Monday, July 22, 2024.

All other County offices outside the courthouse will be open during regular business hours starting tomorrow.

Alternative Measures and Recommendations

During this period, we urge all individuals with pending court matters to:

- Contact their legal representatives for updates and advice on rescheduling affected proceedings.

- Stay informed through our official communication channels, including the Clay County Emergency Management Facebook page, for real-time updates and rescheduling information.

Commitment to Security and Transparency

The Clay County Commissioners are committed to resolving this cybersecurity incident with the utmost seriousness and transparency. We are taking comprehensive measures to enhance our systems, prevent future attacks, and ensure the continued privacy and security of all data entrusted to us.

We deeply regret any inconvenience and concerns this may cause to the public and our employees. We are dedicated to restoring full operations as swiftly and safely as possible while reinforcing our defenses against future cyber threats.

The Clay County Commissioners will issue their next update on this situation by Friday, July 19, 2024 at 2:00 PM.

We thank everyone for their understanding and cooperation during this challenging time.

UPDATE 070924 @ 2:50 p.m.

Clay County Emergency Management Director Rob Gambill told The Brazil Times that the day has been chaotic at the Clay County Courthouse since around midnight when the ransomware attack occurred.

However, the Clay County Sheriff's Department, 911 Dispatch, and the Highway Department have not experienced any problems, and all are on duty.

"We have reached out for help with this problem," Gambill said, adding that the tough part will be rescheduling at the various courthouse offices with affected computer systems, especially the courts. "We have people scheduled for court proceedings tomorrow and the next couple of days. Those offices can not work without the computers."

Anyone scheduled for a court appearance on Tuesday, July 9, 2024, or Wednesday, July 10, 2024, needs to call the court on Thursday, July 11, 2024, to receive instructions on rescheduling their appearance.

THE SCAM

To understand the scam you need to know two things:

Malware, or malicious software, usually infects computers, smartphones, and tablets.

Ransomware uses malware to get into a computer and permanently blocks access to a victim’s data unless a “ransom” is paid.

Simple ransomware may lock a computer system without damaging any files, but more advanced malware uses a technique called “cryptoviral extortion.” It encrypts the victim’s files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them.

RUSSIAN CONNECTION

Last week in Monroe County, IN, government computer systems were attacked, crippling all county offices and local courts.

The type allegedly used was the “BlackSuit Ransomeware,” delivered by an email with a .zip attachment that can affect servers, virtual servers, and workstations. An attack of this type, whether the ransom is paid or not, can be extremely costly in restoring the data.

NOTE: Launched in April/May 2023, BlackSuit is widely believed to be a rebranding of the Royal ransomware operation, which is considered a direct successor to the infamous Conti cybercrime syndicate. Comprising Russian and Eastern European threats, this organized extortion gang has been a persistent cybersecurity concern to businesses, governments, and the world.

ORIGINAL STORY 070924 @ 1:30 p.m.

A ransomware attack by a Russia-linked cyber crime syndicate breached Monroe County, Indiana’s computer systems last week, crippling all county offices and local courts, and something like it apparently attacked Clay County.

The Clay County Commissioners released details in a press release today about unauthorized activities shortly after midnight on Tuesday, July 9.

“We immediately initiated a comprehensive response,” the statement advised.

INCIDENT DETAILS

Preliminary investigations suggest the incident was a ransomware attack. We cannot access our data or electronically connect with some of the state partners we work with for many of our tasks.

IMPACT ON SERVICES

All Clay County Courthouse offices and the Clay County Health Department are closed as of 2:00 PM today. They will remain closed on Wednesday, July 10, 2024. The Clay County Commissioners will reevaluate the situation tomorrow and decide on further closings by 2:00 PM. The County Highway Department, The Clay County Extension Office, and the WIC office will all be open.

Anyone scheduled for a court appearance on Tuesday, July 9, 2024, or Wednesday, July 10, 2024, needs to call the court on Thursday, July 11, 2024, to receive instructions on rescheduling their appearance. If the courthouse must remain closed on Thursday, the County Commissioners will give further instructions in a press release on Wednesday.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office and the County 9-1-1 Dispatch Center are in operation. An initial disruption occurred to the non-emergency lines, but they’re now fully operational. The 9-1-1 telephone system was never affected.

Measures Taken

We have taken the following steps to address the incident:

- Isolated affected systems to contain the attack.

- Cybersecurity professionals are working to correct the disruption in services.

- We have reported the incident to law enforcement and relevant government agencies.

DATA PROTECTION

We are currently assessing the extent of data exposure. There is no evidence that any personal data has been compromised. We are committed to transparency and will notify all potentially impacted parties as we gather more information.

Ongoing Investigation

The investigation is ongoing, and we are working around the clock to restore all operations. The Clay County Commissioners will release further information regarding this attack as it becomes available.

COMMITMENT TO SECURITY

Clay County is deeply committed to the security of all data we hold. We understand the importance of protecting our community’s information and are taking significant steps to enhance our cybersecurity framework.

The Clay County Commissioners thank all residents and employees for their patience and understanding as we work diligently to resolve this issue and strengthen our systems against future threats.

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