Cyber attack

The county-wide cyber attack that occurred on Oct. 16, 2020 has left systems inoperable to date, including 911 recording at the Parker County Sheriff’s Office.

PCSO Criminal Investigations Supervisor Captain Mark Arnett confirmed Monday morning that the 911 recording system is not operational at this time.

“It was partially encrypted, we had to ship it off to the vendor and they worked on it for probably over a month and shipped it back to us,” he said. “County IT has not been able to get it back online yet.”

In addition, Arnett said in-car communication systems are still impacted and other officer safety systems also remain offline due to the attack. Arnett said the firing of Tricia Radford from her position as the county IT director and the resignation of IT administrator Xantheus Lawrence in December, left no one to work on the systems.

“There really hasn’t been a lot of movement until here recently when ImageNet came online with us,” Arnett said. “I’ve had several meetings with them, so they’re involved heavily and are getting everything back up and running.”

The county moved forward on a 12-month contract with ImageNet Consulting on Jan. 11 and County Judge Pat Deen said the sheriff’s office is a priority at this time.

“What we’ve done is began the prioritization with [ImageNet] and there are pockets of our system that are still down — printing capabilities and so forth — but the most important thing is the sheriff’s office,” he said. “And then everything else will be aligned on our prioritization list in going through the county. We feel very confident with this company that we’re working with.

“[ImageNet] are the ones that are going to be in the role of the IT director, so they’ll be assuming that.”

At a recent special meeting of the commissioners court, a motion to authorize the county to advertise for one or more positions for IT techs was unanimously approved. The techs will assist ImageNet with getting the county systems operating.

“They have the capability and the track record to get this thing taken care of quickly and we feel good about the direction we’re taking with this,” Deen said. “They are on-site getting the information on what is going on with our system so then we can begin the prioritization. We do expect to get something from them fairly quickly — they can’t give us what they don’t know yet.”

As for specifics on what systems are still affected, Deen said ImageNet is currently gathering data to determine that.

“There could be some that we’re not aware of and that’s what their role is — to go in and access that information. We do know the printing capability has to be solved because of the problems that’s causing,” he said. “With probate cases, guardianships, mental competencies that we operate, the software that we use is functioning as it should be. There’s a lot that is working that’s getting us back and there’s a lot of good that’s been done."We just need to get it all complete and move past this.”

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