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CALL 6: Hackers use ransomware to hold Madison County Government computer systems hostage

Ballots on a separate server; not impacted
Posted at 9:59 PM, Nov 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-06 11:20:48-05

MADISON COUNTY, Ind. -- There was a "significant attack" on Madison County Government computer systems Friday night which left them inoperable, sources tell Call 6 Investigates.

The hackers used ransomware to demand a large amount of money to unlock the computer files.

In a ransomware attack, malicious software finds important files on computers, encrypts them and holds them hostage until ransom is paid to the person who infected the computer.

Investigators say they are confident the Madison County attack was not related to the election. Ballots are kept on a different server and were not impacted.

It's unclear whether the computers that were attacked were backed up elsewhere.

Capt. Dave Bursten with Indiana State Police says there is no public safety concern as of yet. Dispatch can still receive 911 calls but information has to be taken down by hand rather than being entered into a computer. 

Bursten says these types of ransomware crimes are typically hard to solve, and ISP does not negotiate with hackers because they say it only encourages more hacks.

No one has taken responsibility for the attack. ISP continues to investigate.