Chatham County government hit by cyberattack

by Casey Mann, Senior Correspondent

Chatham County government was the victim of a cyberattack on Wednesday, Oct. 28, affecting access to its network, email and phones. A majority of county departments, including the county manager’s office, the health department, planning and development, the department of social services, were affected.

Despite the attack, essential operations are still operational. 9-1-1 services continue to operate and Chatham County Schools, which are on a separate system, appear to be unaffected.

The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office is one of the department’s on the county’s network. The office has lost phone and email access, but Chatham County Sheriff Mike Roberson said his team is operating “business as usual.”

“We’re still answering 9-1-1 calls, still taking reports, the detention center is running as are the courts,” Roberson said. “We’re working with a phone company so we can resume administrative tasks such as issuing gun permits and fingerprinting.”

While Roberson is working to get all the department’s phones, which are connected via internet, switched to hard lines, his department is going back to “low tech,” handing writing things and creating logs.

“It’s another example of how flexible and resourceful our staff is dealing with the unknown,” Roberson said.

The Chatham County Elections Office was also affected by the attack, disabling phones and email. But the election process currently underway in Chatham County was not affected and continues to go smoothly, according to the County Manager’s office.

Chatham County’s Public Information Officer Kara Dudley said that the county is “still evaluating the impact” of the incident while “ensuring the critical services continue to be provided to the community.”

“Departments are developing plans to deliver non-critical services,” Dudley said. “We will provide updates as they become available.”

The county is working with law enforcement and other support agencies to “restore [its] systems in a secure manner and maintain the provision of critical services.”

This story will be updated when more information becomes available.