The county announced in a press release on Wednesday afternoon that it was a victim of a sophisticated encryption attack that has disrupted operations.

Camden County’s computer systems have once again come under attack.

The county announced in a press release on Wednesday afternoon that it was a victim of a sophisticated encryption attack that has disrupted operations.

“Camden County places the utmost importance on its network and system security, and County technology experts have been working diligently with independent cybersecurity experts to restore normal operations as soon as possible and conduct a thorough forensic investigation,” the press release stated. “At this time, the County is not aware of any unauthorized disclosure of personal data or financial information.”

Camden County has alerted the FBI of the incident and the county stated it will provide the necessary cooperation. 

The Lake Sun reached out to county officials for further information about the incident and what “disrupted operations” could entail on Thursday afternoon, but no further information was released at the time.

However, county officials provided an updated press release on Friday of the incident caused by "external, malicious actors."

"While the threat actors were able to encrypt certain files within Camden County's network, the County is working closely with independent cybersecurity experts to identify the scope of the attack and repair any damage to its data," the press release stated. "At this time, the County is not aware of any unauthorized disclosure of personal data or financial information."

This is not an unfamiliar situation for the county as it faced cybersecurity issues in 2016. 

In September of that year, the FBI and the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) took control of the situation after multiple cyber attacks were attempted on what was described as an outdated system. 

The previous breach occurred from June to November of that year and the county responded by dismantling its internal information technology (IT) department and bringing in outside sources to resolve the issue, which came with significant upgrades to the software system and additional servers that were estimated to cost over $100,000. Part of the response also included a temporary shutdown of the phones and internet to prevent outside access, which required citizens to physically come to the courthouse to conduct business. The county also rekeyed its doors and upgraded security cameras. 

“That was an embarrassment,” Camden County Presiding Commissioner Greg Hasty previously said of the cybersecurity issue at the time. “But it’s part of the cost of doing business. Those upgrades were mandatory.”

Being an election year in 2016, there were concerns that voter registration data may have been compromised. Camden County was not alone, either, as it was reported that year that 39 states had been hacked and 21 states in the run-up to the 2016 election faced attempts of being hacked, with 16 of them confirming such a scenario. However, Missouri had not publicly confirmed that any election systems were compromised. 

The FBI seized Camden County’s computers at the time and nearly two years after the alleged data breach, the case was still reportedly involved in a pending or prospective law enforcement proceeding and therefore closed from review after multiple attempts by the Lake Sun to obtain records through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

“Release of this information in these responsive records could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings,” an emailed letter from the FBI stated in August of 2018.

Without any additional information at this time, it is too early to tell what will become of this latest incident.

The Lake Sun will continue to provide updates on this matter as more information becomes available.