Malware attack impacts Finney County network ahead of primary elections

Published: Aug. 1, 2018 at 3:19 PM CDT
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Vice President Mike Pence uses an example from Finney County to highlight how federal officials and local communities need to work together to ensure election security.

Pence says Finney County reached out to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for help after a malware attack forced the county to shut down, not just its election network, but the entire county's network.

The malware attack happened last month. Wednesday, the county reports all systems are back up and running and county administrators say the attack is not affecting early voting nor the election process.

The county says last month's attack came from a link attached to an email and then traveled throughout its network. Finney County says the email did not originate in the county. It came with a subject line, "This is your invoice."

Due to the malware attack, county services were limited in July. County officials says they shut down the entire network twice in order to protect data.

Finney County's clerk says the county is required to reach out to the secretary of state in situations like this. The county says it was that state office that then reached out to DHS. While the vice president cites the situation as an example to emphasize the importance of election security, the county reminds voters the attack hasn't impacted the voting process.

"It has not impacted the election. We started early voting on July 18 as we had planned and so far, no impact and we don't expect any impact," says Finney County Clerk and election officer, Dori Munyan.

To keep the attack from spreading far beyond the county and its network, Finney County warns its residents not to click or download links in emails from any sources they don't recognize.