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Cyberattack affected more than thirty counties in Arkansas



Little Rock, Arkansas – County offices across the state are going offline or briefly closing as a result of a cyberattack that occurred over the weekend. The web servers for each impacted county are provided by the business Apprentice Information Systems.

The Rodgers-based company declined to identify how many counties they cover, but several concerned county offices said they think at least one office might be closed in up to half the state.

Empty desks and cautionary signs and locked-out computers are common sights and situations in countless Arkansas county offices.

“We’re going back into the eighties with how we’re doing things right now,” Gail Snyder, Assessor for White County said.

On Saturday, Snyder first became aware of the possible compromise. She claimed that everything was once again written by hand at her office, the tax collector’s, and the clerk’s.

We discovered three counties (Garland, Hot Springs, and Jefferson) employed a different vendor and were unaffected by the outage by contacting 20 central Arkansas counties before they closed on Monday and by examining the Assessor’s Apprentice Information Systems User Group website.

For their officers, three counties (Arkansas, Pike, and Van Buren) have no internet access at all. Overall, 31 counties have at least one or more AIS offices that are supported by offline servers.

“Normally, Apprentice does not comment to the press on media matters but refers inquiries to our county partners. However, this is a unique situation and felt it deserved some response,” A spokesman for Apprentice Information Systems, Doug Matayo (CEO, Standing Rock Consulting), said.

Matayo’s release reads:
“Apprentice Information Systems, Inc. recently detected a potential security breach which may have affected some county government partners in Arkansas. Out of an abundance
of caution some county government systems have been brought offline to further assess potential threats and investigate potential ongoing security issues.”

When asking when servers could be restored A-I-S said, “County-partners will be brought back online when it is deemed safe and prudent to do so.”

Depending on location, it is stopping or limiting several services. A post by Yell County Assessor Sherry Hicks stated, “This means you cannot assess, pay taxes, file deeds, search for deeds, no marriage license., etc.”

Hicks went on to say, “Apprentice (our platform company) has informed us that looks like system will be down at least two days.”

The assessor’s offices in at least Saline and Faulkner Counties were closed on Monday. According to Snyder, the White County Judge decided that the offices will continue to be available for business over the phone and in person while still accepting paper documents that must wait until they can be entered into a database.

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