Computers

Belton, MO police department computers hit with cyber attack

File photo

File photo

Belton Police Department/Facebook

A disruption of computer systems maintained by the Belton Police Department has prompted authorities to review its cybersecurity and investigate whether sensitive personal information was compromised, the police chief said Friday.

Computer systems within the police department’s network were recently found to have encrypted malware that prevented access to certain digital files and other services used by department employees, Belton Police Chief Scott Lyons said in a statement.

“We immediately isolated and disconnected those systems from the network as a precaution, notified the FBI and launched an investigation with the assistance of a forensic firm,” Lyons said.

The chief added that the systems involved appeared to only contain public information. But he said the department will provide notice and identity monitoring services in the event personal information leaked out.

The department has restored the operational functions of its computers by using backup systems that were unaffected.

Malware is a tool often used by hackers to gain access to sensitive information. Governmental entities have become targets of cyberattacks in recent years.

Last month, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas reported that a cybersecurity attack caused computer systems to be taken offline. The attack led to many government services being shutdown and some systems — including the payments of property taxes — remained down as of last week.

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Bill Lukitsch covers breaking news for The Star. Before joining The Star, he covered politics and local government for the Quad-City Times.

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