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Marion County Jail’s Reporting System Fall Prey to Virus Attack


Computer virus attack hits the reporting system of Marion County Jail in the last week of September, leading to the reporting system completely going out of service. Sheriff Jimmy Shinn, on October 1, 2018, said that the virus attack took place at around 3 a.m. on September 29, 2018, Saturday, and affected Lawman Records Management System of the jail in a manner that it wiped out everything from there.


Marion County Jail had kept around 24 federal inmates as on October 1, 2018. The data that was lost due to the virus attack contained photographs of jail inmates.

Shinn in his statement given on October 1, 2018, said that, "we back up (the jail's database) every day. That's the funny part, all the photos were supposed to be backed up, and they still haven't been able to retrieve them yet."


The virus entered in the system of Marion County Jail through one of the jail administrator's laptop, which led to a shut-down of the Jail's computer system for most part of last weekend of September. Jimmy Shinn also said that jail supervisors often have a habit of taking laptops back home, so that they can monitor the cameras installed at the jail.


As per Shinn, the laptop of the jail administrator might have got infected with a virus at her home. Later when she came back and connected her laptop to the Lawman Records Management System, then the virus might have corrupted the computer system of the jail.


However, soon after this incident, Shinn took a decision of not letting the supervisors to take their computers anywhere outside the Jail's premises. He firmly said that, "I can't take the chance on getting them infected and bringing them back into our system at the jail".


By Tuesday (i.e. October 2, 2018) morning, around 98% data was recovered, and Shinn sounded pretty confident that the remaining data and files would soon be recovered too. Out of the data recovered were photographs of evidences along with prisoner booking photos as well. Shinn further added that, "getting them back was a big relief".


However, many officers' reports which were filed from Saturday to Monday (at the week when virus attack took place) were required to be re-filed again.


As per Shinn, the estimated cost to repair the affected system would come around several thousand dollars, which would be paid from jail's computer budget.

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