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City receives remote cyberattack, voter information secure


The sun sets on City Hall August 25 in downtown Mount Pleasant.

The City of Mount Pleasant identified a remote Ransomware attack on its computer and phone systems on the morning of Oct. 10. The city’s firewall remained secure and the city does not plan to pay a ransom, according to an Oct. 12 press release.

City Manager Nancy Ridley said the individual or organization was able to hack into the computer system and lock city officials out. The hackers left behind an email that Ridley said the city contacted and have not received a response.

"We've been able to access the system with our IT staff and they've been working to restore all our hardware from our backups so that we can just recreate what we had without dealing with the person or organization that breached our system," Ridley said.

At this time, it is not believed any personal information has been breached, according to the press release. Ridley assures there was also no access to state election computers and all ballot and voter information is secure. 

Additionally, Ridley said the water and wastewater systems run on a separate network and were not compromised by the breach.

The city official's office phones and email accounts are down along with regular operational software. Meaning, city officials temporarily cannot send or receive emails, accept payments, or issue building permits.

"It's impacting city staff but it's also impacting people that use our services," Ridley said. "Our website is still available to the public but we can't access it to update it right now."

The Michigan State Police is conducting an independent investigation of the cyberattack. 

Ridley said there will be a better idea of when the systems will be restored when the city commission discusses the breach at tonight's meeting.

"It's a slow process because we want to make sure whatever we restore is not compromised in any way," Ridley said. 

UPDATE: City Hall and Department of Public Safety offices will be closed for face to face services on Tuesday, October 13, 2020. City email and phone services are currently unavailable. If there is a public safety emergency, call 911 or Central Dispatch at (989) 773-1000. All other City services are still available and there is no delay in trash or recycling services. (From a 6 p.m. press release sent on Oct. 12)