Jackson County, Missouri Declares State of Emergency Due to Ransomware Attack

Jackson County, Missouri, has declared a state of emergency and closed key offices indefinitely as it responds to what officials believe is a ransomware attack that has made some of its IT systems inoperable.

Officials in Jackson County stated on Tuesday that they have identified significant disruptions within their IT systems, which they believe are potentially attributable to a ransomware attack. The attack has caused operational inconsistencies across the county’s digital infrastructure, rendering some systems inoperative while others continue to function normally.

The affected systems include tax and online property payments, issuance of marriage licenses, and inmate searches. As a response, the Assessment, Collection, and Recorder of Deeds offices at all county locations are closed until further notice.

The closure happened on the same day that the county was conducting a special election to vote on a proposed sales tax to fund a stadium for MLB’s Kansas City Royals and the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs. Fortunately, the Jackson County Board of Elections and the Kansas City Board of Elections have not been affected and remain open.

According to security firm Emsisoft’s threat analyst Brett Callow, there have been 28 ransomware attacks on county, municipal, or tribal governments this year. Last year, there were 95 such attacks, with 106 occurring in 2022.

Officials have emphasized that they are in the early stages of response and investigation and so far, there is no evidence that data has been compromised. Jackson County Executive Frank White Jr. has issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency and is exploring budgetary options to address the incident.

The county has notified law enforcement and hired IT security contractors to investigate and remediate the attack. County officials acknowledge the impact of the closures on residents and ask for patience and understanding as they work to address the situation. More information will be provided as it becomes available.


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