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Monday February 6th, 2023 8:33PM

Hall County Commission swiftly passes measure to fight cyber attacks

GAINESVILLE – An unexpected addition was made to the agenda at the Hall County Commission voting session Thursday evening, so last-minute that the actual resolution was presented to the commission hand written on a sheet of paper.

“Mr. Chairman, I want to make a motion to approve the agenda with the addition of an item #19,” Commissioner Billy Powell said to open the meeting.  Nothing was said to the audience as to what the added item was about. 

In a fashion, the sudden and unexpected agenda addition Thursday evening reflected the topic it apparently addressed: the sudden and unexpected attack on the county’s computer system the day before. 

According to limited information released by the county during the preceding 24-hours, a ransomware attack occurred Wednesday morning, affecting not only the county’s computer network but the county’s telephone system, as well.

Hall County Attorney Van Stephens read the resolution.  “To approve the authorization for the County Administrator or his designee to take any and all actions necessary as a result of any potential security incident, and the ratification of all actions taken to date as a result of any potential security incident.”

The resolution makes no specific reference to any security threat and the commissioners approved the resolution unanimously without any discussion.

When asked about the non-specific nature of the resolution and its last minute inclusion on the agenda, County Administrator Jock Connell said after the meeting, “This is an authorization by the board as it relates to some of the hacking that has taken place in the county.”

Connell declined to say anything else about the resolution except to add that an active investigation was underway and he could not disclose any details.

Judging by the language of the resolution presented to the commission, it can likely be deduced that such authorization did not exist in officially stated form before Wednesday’s hacking incident, and that some undisclosed measures that had already taken place to thwart the attack and seek its source were being ratified by commissioners after the fact.

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News
  • Associated Tags: hall county commission, hacking, cyber attack, Ransomwear
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