LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Luzerne County government has almost fully recovered from a cyber attack on its computer systems. That’s the word Tuesday from county leaders.
The attack slowed down county operations, but it did not shut them down. County officials and employees say it was like going back to the future. Some say it was the first time they actually used paper files and folders in years. This was all a big learning lesson.
“It’s a situation you can’t sleep at night knowing that our county politics our county halls of justice were contaminated and hacked,” Paul Chromey of Plains Township said.
Paul and Susan Chromey came to the Luzerne County assessors office Tuesday to file and appeal of their assessment. They weren’t sure what they would find in the aftermath of the cyber attack.
“You don’t know who’s out watching your house. Who’s doing anything. It’s scary. You have no idea who has your information,” Susan Chromey said.
Tony Alu is the director of the assessors office. The only office that is not fully back on computers.
“Big big challenge but I do have to give credit to my staff who have risen to the occasion still answering the phone still taking appeals over the counter. We’re doing everything we can to keep the ship floating,” Alu said.
As have other officers such as the recorder of deeds.
“You had to function the best you could without computers,” Joan Hoggarth, director of judicial services said.
County manager Dave Pedri says it’s been a learning experience. At times a hard learning experience.
Well, we have a couple of different options. First thing is we are doing a complete review of what happened in the past and make sure we don’t go down that road again. We are reviewing our firewalls making sure our servers are up and running,” Pedri said.
We have to point out that county I.T. officials say that public information was not hacked. It was not compromised. As for the cost of this recovery effort, Pedri says those numbers are still being calculated and they do have insurance, but he says they have a $10,000 deductible.
As far as tracking down who is responsible for the cyber attack, county officials will only say that is a work in progress.