Montgomery County Commission authorizes funds to fight ransomware attack

Published: Sep. 22, 2017 at 1:25 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 25, 2017 at 9:45 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY CO., AL (WSFA) - The Montgomery County Commission authorized funds to fight a ransomware attack on servers that support all Montgomery County's departments.

The commission held an emergency meeting Friday to pass a resolution to authorize funds to unlock the county's servers and recover data. According to county authorities, no specific amount of funding was authorized to fight the ransomware attack to give the county administrator latitude to make the decisions necessary to fight the attack.

A serious development overnight regarding backup data prompted the commission to pass the resolution for funds to fight this attack.

"We were not able to get to the data like we thought we could", stated Montgomery Chief IT Officer Lou Ialacci. "When we got a good expert in, he didn't see the data, he didn't think it was there. Later on, through some more technical analysis, he did see the data. It's a matter of how quickly we can get that, and what we can do to get this resolved."

When asked what agencies are affected, Ialacci stated, "Everyone".

The only exceptions apply to The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, and Revenue.

The clock is ticking, Ialacci explained the time frame given through the ransom message was seven days.

As for the odds of using the money to pay the ransom, Ialacci stated that option was on the table.

"I don't want to venture the odds", Ialacci stated.

When pressed on the deadline for making a decision, Ialacci couldn't say.

"Soon", Ialacci stated. "Could be today, could be in the next 20 mins. Soon."

The money will go to repair, restore and recover all of the county data files and operating systems affected by the attack. It will also go to helping prevent attacks in the future, according to the commission.

The Montgomery County Commission confirmed Tuesday the FBI is assisting with the ransomware attack, however, the FBI could neither confirm nor deny an investigation.

At last check, Lalacci did not believe personal information has been compromised, but could not rule it out.

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