After hack attack in Texas, Jefferson County limits access to computer program

After hack attack in Texas, Jefferson County limits access to computer program
Hacker (Source: Flickr/Christoph Scholz)

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Jefferson County government moved quickly Monday to limit access to a key piece of computer software, after the Texas company which sells the software was hit by a “ransomware” attack.

“Nothing’s impacted us at all,” said county administrator Robert Hagemann Monday afternoon. The county told employees Monday morning it had blocked some remote access to a piece of software known as “Munis."

The part blocked is the Munis time entry system, essentially the way people punch in and out of work, Hagemann said.

Munis, which is used by all three north country counties, is critical to the operations of county governments; it handles everything from budget requests to keeping track of contracts to employee records.

“It’s our go-to system internally,” Hagemann said.

The attack was described as a “ransomware” attack, in which hackers extort money from a company by threatening to destroy all its data.

There’s no evidence that the attack which hit the maker of Munis, Tyler Technologies, spread beyond the company. But the New York Times reported some of the company’s clients detected outsiders trying to gain access to their systems Friday night, raising concerns the attackers were out for more than just money.

Hagemann said he expects for at least the next couple of days, county employees will have to use county computers to access Munis for its time entry system.

Jefferson County is also apparently less vulnerable because the data used by Munis is stored locally, rather than remotely.

Lewis County manager Ryan Piche said the county is aware of the issue and is monitoring developments.

7 News reached out to St. Lawrence County Administrator Ruth Doyle. We’ll update this article if we get comment from her.

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