County IT hacking probe continues

CAMBRIDGE — As Tuesday’s meeting of the Dorchester County Council got underway, President Jay Newcomb (District 1) gave an update on the Jan. 27 hacking of the local government’s information technology system. Data and some of the system’s functions have been locked by the digital hacking, and are being held for ransom. Payment has been demanded in the digital currency known as Bitcoin.

“You must excuse us, the county did get hacked last week, so we cannot do no discussions, that is still under investigation by the FBI,” Mr. Newcomb said. “You notice we do not have our computers. We may be a little behind tonight, we have to sift through a lot of papers.”

He continued, “We appreciate your patience in this matter. This is being taken care of.”

The attack was made with ransomware, a type of malware that infects computers and restricts users’ access until payment is made to unlock it.

In addition to the FBI, state information technology specialists, the Maryland National Guard and Maryland Emergency Management Agency are involved with the response. County Manager Keith Adkins said last week that public safety, the tax system and personnel files had not been affected.