Potter County gives update to ransomware recovery effort

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AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Earlier this year, Potter County was hit with a ransomware attack. It’s a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a certain amount of money is paid.

MyHighPlains sat down with Potter County Judge Nancy Tanner for an update as to how the county is recovering this week.

“Right now, everything, the firewall is up and running. Everything’s good we’re happy with that,” Judge Tanner said. “We’re very happy that there will be no more attacks hopefully.”

She said this was part of Potter County’s IT Department update to the Commissioners’ Court earlier this week about the ransomware attack. Judge Tanner explained that not everything could be recovered.

“The sheriff’s office lost everything from December 2017 forward. So they’re putting it manually in the computers,” Tanner said.

When we spoke with the Potter County Sheriff’s Office back in July, Sheriff Brian Thomas said the data lost, now being put in manually, is not pressing. He said they are caught up on day-to-day operations.

Despite some losses, Judge Tanner said the county is moving forward.

“Most people lost some stuff. The clerk’s office is up and running good now. The tax office is running well. Everything’s back almost to normal,” Judge Tanner explained.

She said she never thought Potter County would be hit with one of these cyber attacks.

“It was an eye-opener for me and all the other elected officials, when this happened to us, because you don’t think it will. You always think, oh it’s going to happen to a smaller county or it’s going to happen to bigger cities. But when it happened to us, it hit hard and it hit home,” Judge Tanner added.

Now, the focus is on preventative measures, which include requiring each county employee to complete a cybersecurity training course.

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