Fermont County in Colorado on Aug. 17 discovered a breach in their county computer systems, and as a result, officials were forced to shut down all county buildings – a closure that has remained in effect through Aug. 26.
As county officials continue to assess and recover from the recent cyberattack, it remains unclear whether the breach was part of a ransomware attack or if hackers targeted a specific service. Office computer systems have been affected, and county employees are unable to access their business emails due to the attack.
“Fremont County continues to prioritize our services to all constituents, and we plan to reopen piece by piece as different systems become available. We still are working to fully understand the impact of this incident that affected all county technology systems,” Debbie Bell, Fremont County Commissioner Chairperson, said in an update announcement.
“We have a high level of comfort in our team’s knowledge and expertise, and know they are working overtime to have us fully operational again,” Bell said.
County buildings – including public health buildings – remain closed, and county officials have no timeline for reopening. Some services, like emergency 911 calls and COVID-19 testing, are still functional. The county is currently focused on bringing other rapid-response services back online.
So far, the county believes the attack is contained in their servers and has not spread to other local or state systems.
“We are working to restore county services that were impacted by the cybersecurity event as quickly and safely as possible. We understand it can be very hard to wait, but please know we are waiting right alongside all of you. We also are seeking answers even as we are working around the clock to restore all county government services,” Bell said.
Exact details about the incident have not been released, but Bell assured that “Fremont County remains committed to bringing full transparency to the public once the investigation concludes.”
Fremont County’s Emergency Management team and the Colorado Governor’s Office of Information Technology have been mobilized as part of a joint incident response team, with support from various state and Federal partners.