FBI helping Mat-Su Borough with massive computer virus
The FBI Cyber Crimes unit is helping the Mat-Su Borough after a computer virus infected their network.
The attack happened earlier this week, but IT Director Eric Wyatt said it took time to figure out the scope of the problem.
“Someone on the inside accidentally clicked on something they shouldn’t [have] and the virus got it. It’s important to understand we repel millions of these attacks constantly, and it only takes one like this to disrupt operations,” Wyatt explained.
They shut down the network to limit the potential damage the virus could cause. Staff is working to re-image-- or wipe-- the borough’s 500 laptop and desktop computers.
Wyatt said the network could be down for days or even weeks.
“The nature of the virus can be very difficult to identify because they morph constantly,” Wyatt said. “Some of the virus and attacks are quite deceptive. They’re showing you one thing, [and] while you go after it, they’re attacking something else.”
Each department has had to figure out how to do day-to-day work manually.
The clicks of an electronic typewriter could be heard throughout the hallways.
Purchasing coordinator Lisa Reeve said the relic from the '80s kept their office functioning; orders for equipment don’t stop when the network is down.
“We had an urgent one this morning for a gas line to get a gas line replaced,” Reeves said.
She said people have become so dependent on their computers that it’s been challenging to go back to the old way of operating.
“There are some things we need, forms that we have to recreate because we can’t print them, so we’re taking old forms and whiting out information on it then making copies,” she explained.
Staff at the Animal Care facility are recording adoptions on pape,r and records are stacking up in the office until they can enter them into a computer.
Rebecca Turnipseed said the lack of connectivity means they’re having trouble getting the word out that they’re at capacity with cats.
“Without computers, it’s hard to tell exact numbers,” she laughed.
They estimate at least 40 cats and 50 dogs are looking for homes. Animal Care is offering a flat fee—$15 for cats, $5 for black and white cats and $35 for dogs—which can be paid with cash or check.
“Without advertisements and information being given, our numbers dwindle with adoption per day,” she said.
The IT director hopes to have some of the essential services back online by next week. Wyatt said it could take up to a month before every department is functioning normally again.
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