Virus attacks Sussex computers

Officials: No data lost; system back on line
March 29, 2013

Was a Feb. 19 virus attack on the Sussex County government computer network part of the bigger picture of nationwide cyber attacks on high-profile companies?

In February, some Microsoft, Apple and Facebook systems were infected with malware. In addition, several banks – including Wells Fargo, PNC and US Bank - had their customer-service websites disrupted. Several major newspapers - including the Washington Post and New York Times - also experienced disruptions.

Chip Guy, county communications director, said staff and customers had problems accessing information on the county's website. He said the system was never completely shut down; staff could work on computers, but certain storage areas on the network could not be accessed.

Guy said he doubts that Sussex County's virus attack was part of the series of attacks experienced by some of the largest corporations in the country. “But who knows what people's motives are,” he said.

Guy said county information-technology personnel worked diligently to restore the system with no data lost. Staff worked beyond normal working hours and over the weekend to get the system totally back on line.

Guy said staff is working to ascertain the origin of the virus. “It could have come in on an email or a downloaded attachment,” he said. “There's a chance we'll never know. It seems during these days, this has become a cost of doing business.”

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