Hackers hit communication center


County pays Bitcoin “ransom” to release virus from its files

By Melanie Yingst - [email protected]



MIAMI COUNTY — The Miami County Communication Center’s administrative computer network system was compromised by a virus on Sept. 1 and cannot be unlocked unless the county pays a $700 Bitcoin ransom.

According to a Miami County Sheriff’s Office report, the county’s technology director Matt Watkins reported the computer virus called “Cryto Wall 3.0” had locked down the 9-1-1 center’s administrative system. The program cannot be fixed unless a fee is paid to the unknown sender of the virus. The report states since the payment form is in Bitcoin, which is a digital form of currency that cannot be traced.

In the report, Watkins stated a report with the sheriff’s office was needed in order for the auditor’s office to make payment to the computer hacker. Watkins explained in the report that the only way to remove the virus was to pay the fee for the fix.

According to the report, the virus was originally sent to the county’s animal shelter in form of an email attachment. Then the email went out to the communication center and was opened by a dispatch supervisor which then activated itself and locked down the center’s files.

A phone call to Watkins has not yet been returned as of press time.

County pays Bitcoin “ransom” to release virus from its files

By Melanie Yingst

[email protected]

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