City Hall at night

Frankfort City Hall at night. (Austin Horn | The State Journal)

The City of Frankfort has not experienced any loss or theft of data in a hack to its servers first identified two weeks ago, per a release sent to The State Journal on Wednesday.

“Working with outside experts, we have verified the current security of our network, confirmed that no data was compromised or removed from our systems as a result of this incident, and begun restoring staff use of systems that had been offline,” the release read. “We still have important work to do, but are encouraged by our progress to date and will maintain this response as a top priority as we pursue full system restoration.”

Two separate sources with knowledge of the situation — including one city employee — told The State Journal last month that the city was being held ransom. The city has yet to confirm whether there was any ransom involved as a result of the hack into its servers. 

Ransomware, a software that encrypts key files, allowing the hacker to demand ransom in exchange for their decryption, is a growing threat to organizations across the world. Recently, one of the largest public school systems in the United States was taken advantage of by hackers who demanded $40 million in ransom money.

The City of Frankfort said that independent IT experts verified that no sensitive data has been taken from the city.

“Independent experts have completed a thorough inspection of our network and a full forensic investigation,” the release read. “They have found no forensic evidence of data exfiltration and have concluded that none of our data was inappropriately accessed or removed from our systems during this incident.”

The city had previously indicated that it was engaged with federal law enforcement and its insurance provider as well.

The release added that the city’s primary server is up and running and in use by city staff. However, some systems are still “offline and unavailable.”

“Operating out of an abundance of caution, we are rebuilding a number of IT systems on new equipment and restoring the majority of our data from available backups,” the release read. “… Ongoing restoration of systems and applications is expected to continue through next week.”

Already, the city has spent nearly $36,000 to purchase 60 computers for “updated malware and operating system upgrades.” Frankfort Mayor Layne Wilkerson confirmed that the purchase was related to the hack.

To combat future hacks, the city says it has invested in greater cybersecurity measures that continually monitor the servers and more.

“To further ensure the security of our systems, we have deployed endpoint threat detection and response monitoring software across our network and implemented additional security upgrades,” the release read.

 

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