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Hack cripples Miller County government computers

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TEXARKANA, Ark. — A recently deployed computer virus has crippled Miller County government computer systems at the county courthouse.

The virus hit Miller and 54 other Arkansas counties mid-morning Nov. 7, County Judge Cathy Harrison said Friday. No sensitive information was exposed in the attack, but the resulting outage is impeding county business, particularly for taxpayers.

“Right now, our offices are still open, but we are now having to use old-fashioned, handwritten paper slips for customers rather than the computer-generated payment slips,” Harrison said. “Right now, we’re still not able to turn on most of our computers.”

Harrison said the only working computers are in the County Clerk Office. Computers in the County Judge, Tax Collector, Tax Assessor and Treasurer offices are down.

Restoration could take up to two weeks, Harrison said.

“Computer restoration will likely have to be done office by office, and we will try to get the Treasurer’s Office to be one of the first,” she said.

Harrison said the hack was performed on Apprentice Information Systems, a Rogers-based information technology company that handles servers for county government. The attack was a type of “electronic bomb,” Harrison said.

“AIS’s mainframe wasn’t affected, but the many thousands of small bombs released did make their way through to cause most of the state’s county computer damage,” she said.

Chief Deputy Mark Lewis said since the Sheriff’s Office uses a different server, its computer system was unaffected.

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