An Update on County Government Malware Intrusion

Should Oconee Citizens be concerned about their personal information following last Thursday’s malware intrusion at the Oconee County Government offices?

That’s a question that many around the Golden Corner have asked, but Oconee County Administrator Amanda Brock wants to put the unrest at ease.

Brock spoke with 101.7 WGOG News earlier and when asked if any Oconeean should be concerned about last Thursday’s intrusion, Brock said, “None.”

For some people, understanding the difference between a malware intrusion and a data breach can be a daunting idea to comprehend. But it’s one that Oconee Citizens need to understand to know that they are not in any danger following last Thursday’s events at the County Offices.

There is a large distinction between a malware intrusion and data breach. Last Thursday’s events are classified as a malware intrusion due to the system’s control being taken over, yet no data or information was stolen. Many will remember September of 2016 when a data breach was reported by then County Administrator Scott Moulder to the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office concerning the County’s payroll system. In that incident, account numbers were re-routed and information was altered within the system.

Malware is explained as software that is specifically designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to a computer system. This type of technological virus can gain access to a server system through a variety of ways. An example is something as simple as a user opening an email with the virus attached. To the average user, this may appear to look like an ordinary email, but instead it allows that virus to take control of your system. Officials are not prepared at this time to release the information as to how the virus infiltrated the County’s computer system with the investigation still underway.

All operations located at the County office at Pine Street are now fully operational once again for the public, and the majority of the county library system is up and running.

Not only are the effects still felt, but the investigation on the matter continues.

When the malware intrusion was detected by the County’s IT department last Thursday, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office was called in to investigate the incident. Following preliminary investigations, the Sheriff’s Office then turned to the FBI and multiple branches of Homeland Security for answers.

Investigators said that they believe the intent of the virus was to take control over the entire system of County servers and potentially hold them for ransom. The virus however was detected before it could compromise the full system.

101.7 WGOG News has spoken with sources and learned that same virus that infiltrated the County’s computer systems is being investigated by at-least two FBI field offices across the country.