The Mad River Twp. Fire and EMS station is without years of data after its server was breached and encrypted with ransomware.
Chief Elmer Beard said the virus was found in August and the department has tried to work out solutions to get the information unencrypted. The hackers demanded payment for the information in Bitcoin, which translates to thousands of dollars he said.
“This data does contain personal identifiable information,” Beard said in a press release.
The data impacted is from information collected by officials when residents used EMS or fire services, Beard said.
“It is unknown as to how many individuals would have been affected had the data been transferred from the server. Since the data breach, we have been working with our IT vendor to improve the security on our server and network.”
It does not appear information was stolen, he said, instead the hackers encrypted the data so no one can read it. The department elected not to pay the ransom because they were unsure if they would actually get the information back, Beard said.
“We chose not to pay for the ransom mostly because based on not only our vendor’s opinion but others if we paid the ransom we may or may not have received a key,” he said. “Another thing that could happen is they give us a key and the data but it could include another virus in there that would lock the data back up.”
The department is willing to answer questions by anyone who might have been impacted by the data breach, he said.
“Health and Human Services have been notified of the security breach of our server as required by law,” he said. “As we cannot access our data to obtain names and contact information, the department is making notification through local media outlets. Anyone seeking additional information may contact our department by calling 888-861-7429 option 2 for Fire and EMS, and option 1 for the chief.”