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Gogebic County’s Computers Shut Down Due to Virus

A virus struck 200 computers of Gogebic County (U.S.) employees on March 7, 2007. To prevent further spread of the infection, officials shut down the network that disabled several workstations.

Jim Loeper, emergency management coordinator said that a Trojan horse called W32.Rinbot.b entered the county's server on February 21, 2007. DAILY GLOBE published Loeper's statement on March 7, 2007. The infection disabled the server and county officials were looking forward to a new one.

According to officials, scattered reports started to come in to technical-support staff on March 7, 2007. They complained that their computers' speed was slowing down while displaying symbols and numbers repeatedly in place of text.

The computers' functioning was still down on March 8th morning, said Bill Ryan the county's information technology officer. He said technicians were still searching the source of the attack, while restoration was also undone.

Loeper said on March 8, 2007 the county's computer network was again operable at 2 p.m. However, people could not access records in the Gogebic County Sheriff's Office on March 5, 2007. He also said the CrimeStar software applied to manage records at the Sheriff's office was down that resulted in non-accessibility to data on the police boards.

The Office of Information Technology at the county had joined with Symantec, the county's IT contractor, to detect the virus and repair the PCs and their network, Mr. Ryan said. He further said that the county was using the software that Symantec provided to clean up the infected PCs. The county pays $70,000 p.a. to the Cupertino, Calif., - security firm to safeguard Anne Arundel's PCs from such attacks.

While a complete list of affected units was not prepared employees from some departments like sheriff, police, fire, finance, central services and public works all complained about problems in their computers on March 7 afternoon.

There was substantial progress by the County Emergency Services in solving the problem, said Loeper. But there was need to install the booking software that helps the sheriff department's computer aided dispatch (CAD) to function.

About 40-50% of the county treasurer office's data was recovered, according to Loeper.

Related article: Gogebic County Computer System Assaulted

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