Is Kentucky city being held ransom? City’s IT networks, servers disabled in computer hacking incident

Published 6:58 am Wednesday, March 24, 2021

The City of Frankfort says it learned of a hack to its servers on Sunday.

Two separate sources with knowledge of the situation — including one city employee — told The State Journal that the city is being held ransom. Both spoke on condition of anonymity.

After an inquiry from the newspaper, the city sent out a news release Tuesday evening saying that it had suffered an “intrusion into the IT network that disrupted access to some computer servers” and that several “internal systems are temporarily unavailable.”

The release did not mention a potential ransom, and Frankfort Mayor Layne Wilkerson did not comment on whether the city was being held ransom.

The release said that an “unknown third party” is responsible for the hack. The city is addressing the issue with “the highest priority,” adding that it is working with independent experts, federal law enforcement and its insurance provider to resolve the situation, per the release.

“Upon discovery, city staff initiated a comprehensive response in accordance with the existing IT incident response plan, including immediately taking some system components offline and engaging independent IT security and computer forensic specialists to help remediate and investigate the incident,” the release read. “The city is coordinating with federal law enforcement and is also receiving assistance from its insurance provider.”

Wilkerson said the city is “being careful with the details and specifics we are providing at this time,” and did not comment on whether any personal information had been collected in the hack.

A city employee said that they were concerned about the hacker having access to information that could compromise city employees’ financial safety.

“It bothers me because everyone’s personal information is on there,” the employee said. “If you can hack a whole city system like that, then you can get into my little bank account and do whatever you want.”