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Local News

Virus infects secondary Will County 911 services

Shaw Media file photo
Shaw Media file photo

The Will County 911 Office experienced what it’s calling a “cyber event” over the weekend with one of its computer systems, although at no point were 911 dispatching services affected.

Chief administrator Anthony Marzano said officials noticed it over the weekend and determined a virus had infected one of their networks. He said they responded immediately by isolating the system and taking it offline to make sure the virus was contained.

The system affected provides a way for police officers and firefighters in the field to communicate with Will County 911 over a mobile internet connection.

Marzano emphasized that at no point were essential 911 services affected. The county’s 911 phone system, radio dispatch system and core computer-aided dispatch systems are on a totally separate, isolated and secure network that is not connected to the internet.

He said that while staff members were able to put the system back online by Sunday, they took it offline Monday after they had a better understanding of how it was affected. As of Wednesday, they still were working on the system to perform secondary scans and ensure security.

There were some services affected which use the internet. For instance, when officers want to make a report in the field, they could normally file it online through the affected system. With the system down, officers would have to submit the reports manually.

“It’s a little more inconvenient,” Marzano said.

He also said there was no impact on “sensitive data,” any law enforcement data or EMS reports.

Marzano added officials were working to identify any additional work needed to improve security, and the department is working with a cybersecurity firm to find out what happened.

He said he did not want to discuss the cause of the virus until they finished working on the network.

“I don’t want to talk about the specifics of what happened because they’re still working on this,” he said.

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