Douglas County’s 911 impacted by ransomware cryptovirus

Douglas County officials want to make it clear at no time was public safety in jeopardy.
6 News confirmed a virus made its way into Douglas County's 911 system Sunday morning.
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 5:59 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Early Sunday morning a virus made its way into Douglas County’s 911 system. Staff are trained to answer and dispatch calls using the computer system but are also trained to do the job the pre-computer way.

Douglas County officials want to make it clear at no time was public safety in jeopardy.

CHI Health also had an IT security incident Monday.

“Our primary systems were online at all times so we were still able to answer calls, we were still able to use radio to dispatch those calls so people were still able to call 911 for assistance and assistance still able to get to them,” said Kyle Kramer.

Kyle Kramer is the Technical Manager for Douglas County, he says instead of using the computer system 911 staff had to go old school writing down information on cards and then handing the information to dispatchers. They had to bring in extra staff to get the extra work done.

“So really the systems that were impacted are tools that make things easier and more efficient for our dispatchers,” said Kramer.

Kramer says all of this was necessary because a virus made its way into the 911 system.

“So we were impacted with a ransomware cryptovirus it impacted some of our subsystems so it never was able to access any of our actual data but it was able to prevent us from utilizing that data,” said Kramer.

Officials have detected the first device where the virus came from. Security is analyzing the device but even if they figure out where the infection came from there’s probably very little they can do.

“Even if we can identify it most likely the source is going to be overseas and someplace that does not have any type of agreements with the United States government so taking any kind of legal action against them is probably not going to be very viable,” said Kramer.

Officials say they did not pay any ransom and the major issues were fixed later the same day.

Douglas County officials say they are still working to restore administrative tools all of the 911 primary systems and sub-systems have been restored.