Hinesville City council, last Thursday, approved immediate and future funding for information systems recovery due to the ransomware computer attack which crippled the city’s network Feb. 20.
City Manager Kenneth Howard requested $31,662 immediately to mitigate any further attacks. He is also seeking an additional $29,261.16 to be budgeted in FY 2019 to move to more secure networks and establish a better cloud based system.
Howard said the city immediately contacted Mullen Coughlin LLC and Kroll Cyber Security LLC, once they learned computers had been infected.
They discovered the hackers gained access through a remote desktop portal. The hackers placed the ransomware but, per Kroll Cyber Security, they didn’t access any sensitive or critical information. Any computer system that was on was infected by the ransomware which demanded bit-coins equal to $56,000.
The Council also approved a policy which will allow HPD officers to take their patrol vehicle home if they live within Liberty County or within 15 miles of the city’s police department. Specially authorized officers may take their vehicles home too if authorized by the chief and approved by Howard. The policy update is to help HPD recruit and retain officers. The department also recently moved to 12 hour shifts, which Interim Chief Bill Kirkendall said immediately bolstered morale.
The new patrol vehicle policy is effective immediately.
The council also approved the lease agreement for 279 Briarwood Circle, a property jointly owned by the city and county. The building currently houses Liberty Humane Shelter, a no-kill animal rescue. The non-profit will pay $100 for the annual lease.