Butler County DMV & Treasurers Department to open at 3 p.m.

BUTLER COUNTY, Kan. (KWCH) Update Thursday (Sept. 14, 1:40 p.m.):

Butler County Motor Vehicle Division and the Treasurers Department in El Dorado will open the office to the public at 3:00 P.M. today and close at their normal time (4:30 P.M.).

The Augusta Western Office and Driver’s License services will remain
closed as it is still not able to serve customers at this time. If you need to renew a Driver’s License you can go to the State of Kansas Driver’s License Office in Andover or a State Driver’s License Office in Sedgwick County.

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Update Thursday (Sept. 14):

Butler County is regaining some its services back and is now testing process for the Motor Vehicle’s Division and the Treasurers Department in El Dorado.

The county says staff is running mail vehicle registrations to test the system and if the processes continue to work they will open the office to the public at 3:00 P.M. today.

The Augusta Western Office and Driver’s License services will remain closed as it is still not able to serve customers at this time.

If you need to renew a Driver’s License you can go to the State of Kansas Driver’s License Office in Andover or a State Driver’s License Office in Sedgwick County.

The county will post confirmation via social media and through press releases with the media at 1:00 p.m. as well as any additional updates.

For information on closings or limited available services, individuals may contact Departments directly or call our main line at 316-322-4300.

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Update Tuesday (Sept. 12):

Butler County says its services are still limited due to a ransomware attack on the county's computer network, but it anticipates having some services back online Wednesday. The county says its goal is to get limited Motor Vehicle, Driver's License and Register of Deeds operations back up and running by the end of the day Wednesday in El Dorado.

The county says The Augusta Western Office will remain closed and "will notify the public as soon as possible when it is expected to reopen." Email availability for county staff will remain down through this week.

"All offices continue to remain open, but services requiring the use of a computer continue to be limited at this time," the county says.

The county says it continues to work with third-party vendors to restore its systems.

"IT staff continues to make great strides as we have restored some operations, but continue to limit our connectivity to the Internet until we are 100 percent sure the original breach is eliminated," the county says. "The county wants to emphasize that we do not believe any public or private information was stolen from the county during this cyber attack. We continue to ask the public to be patient with staff as we deal with this problem as it is an extremely tedious process."

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Butler County says some of its essential software and data has been taken hostage in a ransomware attack.

The county says the information is being held hostage or encrypted until monies are paid or the county restores access with the help of our third party vendors.

The county says it does not believe any public or private information was stolen.

All offices are open but services requiring the use of a computer such as motor vehicle renewals and driver license renewal are not available at this time.

"Right now, we've curtailed our services until we know how the attack came in to make sure it doesn't affect anything else, and to make sure we can limit the damage," Butler County Administrator William Johnson says.

The county says it is working with third party vendors and law enforcement to restore its systems.

Johnson could not disclose how much money the hackers were demanding but says the county is insured, so it shouldn't cost taxpayers anything but a headache.

He says the county's insurance company sees about 100 cases of ransomware each year.

One local computer expert confirms attacks like this are not uncommon.

"It happens a lot more than you would think," says Brandon Joiner with Ribbit Business Solutions.

Joiner says he has seen the attacks more frequently in recent weeks, from churches being demanded to pay $500 to large companies seeing amounts of more than $25,000.

Joiner recommends having a good daily back-up on your server,

"Having one off site is even better because if you have an on-site backup, that can be encrypted as well," he says. "An offsite, cloud-based backup is the best line of defense."

Johnson says out of principle, Butler County does not plan to pay the ransom. Instead, it will see if the company it's hired can get the information released. If that doesn't work, the county may not have a choice but to pay.

He says he hopes to get the county's services back in full working order by the end of the week.

For information on closings or limited available services, individuals may contact Departments directly or call our main line at 316-322-4300.