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Grand Traverse Co. leaders share more information about ransomware attack that hit county, Traverse City

TRAVERSE CITY — New information is coming out about the ransomware attack on Grand Traverse County and city of Traverse City office computer systems that happened earlier in the week.

County leaders are now sharing more information as to the way the now confirmed cyber-attack happened.

County administrator, Nate Alger said it forced the county and the city to take their office networks offline, impacting some county and city services as well as every department in the county.


“They wanted us to find it so that we could potentially pay for that release of our information. It was contained within the data of our network,’ said Alger.

Alger said that it didn’t take too long for them to confirm it was indeed a ransomware attack soon after the irregularities were discovered.

“As soon as we started poking around, trying to figure out what occurred, we noticed that information and share that with the FBI and the state police and our consultants,” said Alger.

He said the message was clear.


“We received information through the ransomware incident that says, ‘Hey, read me, we have locked up your information. It’s an easy fix to get it back. Just click this URL and we’ll talk,” said Alger.

Alger said they also believe they know how the attack happened.

“The incident that we are facing did occur through an email vulnerability that we’ve identified. ...But beyond that, I cannot talk to you about the cause or the origin of it,” said Alger.

Alger said they are working with law enforcement to preserve evidence to find who’s behind it and taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.


“We need to implement multi-factor authentication. We need to have better passwords. things of that nature will help us going forward. But we have a system called ‘Know Before’. It’s an education system that our IT department has deployed, and our employees have taken cybersecurity training, and they’re tested on it,” said Alger.

He doesn’t know when the networks will be back online but there are obvious impacts for the people who live here.

“The mere fact that we can’t provide services to citizens, you know, that is going to come back to us. We’re going to have to provide those services in the future. And that’s going to be a backlog,” said Alger.

He said there is a silver lining to all this.

“We do not believe that any customer information that the county holds has been released or taken from our system. We caught this very quickly. Our staff is very resilient. They’re very creative. They have found workarounds; they have found things to do. And there is very little negativity in the county right now,” said Alger.

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