Jefferson County limits access to computer program after hacking attack in Texas


WATERTOWN, NY (WWNY) – The Jefferson County government acted quickly on Monday to restrict access to key software after the Texas company that sells the software was hit by a ransomware attack.

“Nothing affected us at all,” county administrator Robert Hagemann said Monday afternoon. The county told employees Monday morning that it had blocked some remote access to software known as “Munis.”

The stuck part is the Munis time entry system, basically the way people get in and out of work, Hagemann said.

Munis, which is used by the three northern counties of the country, is essential to the operations of the county governments; it manages everything from budget requests to contract monitoring to employee files.

“This is our system of choice internally,” Hagemann said.

The attack has been described as a “ransomware” attack, in which hackers extort money from a company by threatening to destroy all of its data.

There is no evidence that the attack that hit Munis maker Tyler Technologies spread beyond the company. But the New York Times reported that some of the company’s customers detected strangers trying to access their systems on Friday evening, raising concerns that attackers were only after money.

Hagemann said he expects that for at least the next two days, county employees will have to use county computers to access Munis for its time recording system.

Jefferson County is also apparently less vulnerable because the data Munis uses is stored locally rather than remotely.

Lewis County Director Ryan Piche said the county is aware of the problem and is monitoring developments.

7 News contacted St. Lawrence County Administrator Ruth Doyle. We will update this article if we receive any feedback from it.

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Gordon K. Morehouse