Experts explain what ransomware is and how to avoid it

BUTLER COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Butler County government services remain under siege after officials discovered they were hacked sometime this weekend.

Government offices are operating on a limited basis right now, and a more serious issue is that county emergency communications is having to relay emergency locations by way of two way radios.

It has become a digital thorn in their side.

“They said I couldn’t do anything until the computer issues were resolved, and that they had no idea when that would be,” said Harry Skewes, Butler County resident.

Skewes said he was let off with a warning for expired tags, and he came to the Butler County Courthouse Tuesday to get them renewed

He found, thanks to the ransomware hacking, he will have to wait until the county resolves the problem before he can do anything.

“I feel pretty bad that I made a serious promise, and I can’t keep it,” said Skewes.

Until then, he said he was told to call every day to see if the services were back up and running.

So, ransomware, what is it?

“It’s all about money,” said Bill Young, Interim VP Digital Transformation and CIO at Butler Community College.

An IT expert of 20 years, Young, said it’s when a source locks you out of your network and demands money before they give you access back.

He said it is not usually something that affects personal data or information.

“It is really straightforward. They are taking your files hostage and when you pay the ransom you get the hostages back,” said Young.

He said if you get ahead of the problem soon enough, you may get lucky. He said if you think there is even a hint of ransomware on your computer or network, unplug the computer from the network.

Young usually said the source is outside of the United States, making it or them hard to trace or pinpoint.

Skewes is hoping they catch the person responsible.

“They have absolutely no morals or no sense of responsibilities. They are sociopaths.”

The county administrator is hoping to access some of the network and get services back up and running by Wednesday.


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