OMAHA, Nebraska – Early on Sunday morning, a malware infiltrated the 911 system in Douglas County. The staff is taught to answer and dispatch calls using the computer system, as well as to perform the same tasks without the computer.
Douglas County officials wish to clarify that public safety was never in threat.
Monday also saw an IT security incident at CHI Health.
“Our major systems were online at all times, so we were still able to take calls, and we were still able to use radio to dispatch those calls, so folks were still able to dial 911 and receive assistance,” said Kyle Kramer.
Kyle Kramer is the Technical Manager for Douglas County. According to him, instead of using the computer system, 911 workers had to record information on paper cards and deliver them to dispatchers. They had to hire additional personnel to do the additional task.
According to Kramer, the affected systems are essentially tools that make our dispatchers’ jobs easier and more efficient.
According to Kramer, all of this was necessary because a virus infiltrated the 911 system.
“Therefore, we were impacted by a ransomware cryptovirus that affected some of our subsystems; it was never able to access any of our actual data, but it did restrict us from using that data,” said Kramer.
Officials have identified the initial source of the infection. Even if security determines where the problem originated, they may not be able to do anything about it.
“Even if we are able to identify the source, it is likely to be located overseas and in a country that has no agreements with the United States government, so taking legal action against them is probably not very feasible,” said Kramer.
According to officials, no ransom was paid, and the primary concerns were resolved later that day.
Officials in Douglas County said they are still working to restore administrative tools, but all major and secondary 911 systems have been restored.