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Hackers demand millions of dollars from Clearfield



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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CLEARFIELD — All its computer systems are back online, but Clearfield's city manager says it will take some time to figure out exactly what hackers got.

While hackers did encrypt the city's computer systems, keeping them hostage for the money and demanding millions of dollars, they didn't get to their backup files. What they say helped is the fact that the intrusion was caught early.

I.T. was notified very early morning on July 11 and immediately took everything offline.

"(They) were called in and, when they came in and saw the readme note, immediately they took all of our systems down," Clearfield City Manager JJ Allen said. "Our own I.T. personnel took all of our systems down, to protect as best we could from whatever might be happening."

Computers and even their phones were cut off for days.

Allen said they didn't make the attack widely known at first. They didn't want widespread panic before having a chance to see how bad it was — though there was a lot of concern among city staff.

"It was a very, very difficult week," Allen said. "Everybody's concerned about their personal information, about anything that could be identifiable to them."

Police and fire dispatch were able to keep their phones on, but they had to track calls using an Excel spreadsheet.

Allen told KSL-TV the city does not keep payment information for utilities on its website or its servers, so all of that is safe.

Right now, investigators hired by the city's insurance company are combing through its files seeing what the hackers are able to look at.

Allen said the city did not pay the ransom, since it managed to get back into the systems hackers were keeping hostage. He says the city is up and running now.

"We saw this glimmer of hope, and then that hope materialized," he said. "It was a real answer to prayer."

City officials say if they discover your data was breached, you'll be notified and given help with credit monitoring and fraud protection.

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Mike Anderson
Mike Anderson often doubles as his own photographer, shooting and editing most of his stories. He came to KSL in April 2011 after working for several years at various broadcast news outlets.

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