UPDATE: Courthouse officials, FBI still investigating cyber attack

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HARRISON COUNTY, W. Va. (WDTV) -- UPDATE 6/21/19
The FBI is working with the Harrison County courthouse on an investigation into a cyber attack on the that has blocked access to an unknown number of public records.

Picture of the Harrison County Courthouse

$1,500 dollars in cryptocurrency was the price the Harrison County courthouse had to pay after hackers attacked their servers last week.

The aftermath has left the offices having to do work the old-school way.

"Taking documents in by hand, cash, checks things like that," said County Administrator Willie Parker "And all that information will eventually need to be put back into our system,"

Despite making the payment, the hackers asked for more- $3,000 to be exact.

"We had made a 1,500 dollar payment to purchase the encryption key, that was not provided," said Parker

Rather than risking losing even more money, they will wait for investigators to hopefully find the encryption key on their own.

And Parker says plans are being made to prevent this type of attack in the future.

"We'll do some in-house training also of what sites people need to visit and restricting some access out to the internet from offices and employees computers,"

Alessandra Cava, who grew up in Harrison County, says it's surprising they're not more up-to-date on cyber security considering the proximity of FBI headquarters.

"With the FBI center right there you would think that they would be able to figure out a way to not be insecure about our files,"

As for the types of documents impacted, they include things such as land deeds.

However, the hackers haven't stolen this information but instead have encrypted it.

"They've just encrypted this information. It's our inability to access it," Parker said "It's sort of like if you're going down the interstate and they've put up a road block, it's not that they've removed the interstate or have it they just control the access,"

Cava, also says that the idea of possibly losing files and spending county money to fix this problem isn't ideal.

"Everybody should be able to expect privacy," said Cava "And it's also worry-some that we have to spend money and do that investigation when there's so many other things it could go to,"

And while public funds were used to make the initial payment, parker says their insurance will pay it back in full.

The main impact this hack will have on the public is that if they have any records at the courthouse they've been accessing online, they will now have to come in person to access them in hard copy.

However the county commission hopes to have everything back to normal in a couple weeks.

UPDATE 6/20/19
The Harrison County Courthouse is still reeling from a cyber-attack one week ago.

The issue was brought up Wednesday night during the commission meeting. Officials said during the meeting that they paid the $1,500 ransom wanted by the hackers. Once they paid the money, officials got another message back thanking them for the down payment, asking for $3,000 more.

We've reached out to the County Administrator to get more details about what happens next. CPD and the FBI are investigating the attack.

Keep checking 5 News for the latest updates.



ORIGINAL STORY 6/18/19
Officials are investigating following a cyber attack at the Harrison County Courthouse on Thursday.

According to officials there, several servers and files have been encrypted and corrupted. A ransom of $1,500 was requested by the hackers,

"Even if you pay a ransom you're not guaranteed you'll get your files back, or all the files," said County Administrator William Parker. "So that's one factor that we'll consider. We're looking at different options that are available right now."

According to Parker, the County Clerk's Office took the biggest hit. Right now, they're working to restore files and will decide if they will pay the ransom to in order to get the files back. According to officials, nothing was deleted, just encrypted.

The County is working with the Clarksburg Police Department and the FBI to find out who's responsible.

County officials say there is no risk, and everything should be fixed within a day or so.