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Madison Co. to pay ransom to regain control of computer servers

A 'significant attack' was launched Friday night
Posted at 3:22 PM, Nov 07, 2016

MADISON COUNTY, Ind. -- Madison County government officials paid the ransom demanded during a 'significant attack' Friday night in order to hopefully regain control of government computer servers.

Commissioner Jeff Hardin says the decision was made based on the advice of the county's cyber liability insurance company.

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.