Cybersecurity incident causes Indian River County network to shutdown

Cybersecurity incident causes Indian River County network to shutdown

Indian River County officials are investigating a cybersecurity system that has shut down employee emails, phones and the county's website.

The network interruption was discovered Thursday night around 9 p.m. and has since impacted network capabilities in various county offices.

"There's a lot of things that can cause a computer system to go down," said Alan Crowetz, a cybersecurity expert at InfoStream.

Crowetz said he helps audit networks for municipalities across the state.

He said because the three systems have been offline for over 24 hours and multiple servers are being affected, those could be signs of ransomware.

"What ransomware is, it's something where someone is tricked within an organization, usually an email or bogus website, they're tricked to click something and do something," said Crowetz. "The weakest part of any government or corporate entity is the person in front of the keyboard."

Once the ransomware has access, Crowetz said, it can easily spread to other systems.

County officials said election systems are not impacted by this incident.

"The longer this goes on, the more concerning it is," said Crowetz. "Because why would it take this long? One, you already got it. Two, it's not a quick restore. So, you're starting to see these signs that this may be a bigger problem than we know."

In addition to the election system not being affected, county officials also said public safety operations are also operating as normal at this time.

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