Some City of Cape Girardeau online services still unavailable after cyber attack

Published: Feb. 4, 2020 at 4:47 AM CST
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - The City of Cape Girardeau was victimized by a “malicious cyber-attack.”

According to the city, they don’t have any information to indicate that a customer or employee information or data has been accessed or acquired without authorization, and all critical safety and infrastructure services continue to operate.

Cape Girardeau City Manager Scott Meyer said they’re joining forces with outside experts to get business back to normal.

“We have a server that is down that we’ll have to rebuild and that’s going to take a while to do that,” he said. “We had some of our data that we didn’t have access to that is now coming back. We’re starting to get access to that.”

Meyer said the impact of the vicious attack reaches outside City Hall.

Court is back in session the week of February 4.

As of Tuesday, January 28, online payments are still unavailable. However, you can mail your utility bill in or pay it in person. Customers must bring bills or their account information.

Online payments are not available. City officials said to include your bill in the mail or when paying in-person. Cash, check and credit cards are accepted with some limitations.

Some online services are still not available. It also affected the city’s email system.

“It has been a lot of trials and tribulations but they have been all phenomenal in finding ways to continue to operate but it’s taking its toll and we are all very eager to have email back and our files back so that we can continue business in a normal fashion if you will," said Molly Mehner, Deputy City Manager.

“So, it’s funny, you kind of think, well, that’s a nice service that we offer. Well, now all the sudden it’s something that people have a hard time accessing, so we are affecting some people,” Meyer said.

“I was coming to pay a bill, and I clearly can’t pay it today,” she said, “so, 'cause I never have any cash.”

Zimmerman said she lives on the opposite side of the city and she’ll come back later.

“It’s just so much easier to come in and just slide your card and get it done with and go on with your day,” she said.

While she waits, Meyer said emergency, trash, water and sewer services are all operating as normal. Plus, if you paid your bill online over the weekend or earlier this week, the city does have record of your payment.

Meyer said he hopes residents will be patient with the city and no one will receive late fees if they miss a payment because of the system impacts.

City leaders said on Thursday evening, Jan. 23 it had industry-standard protection in place, including malware detection.

City staff immediately took action to secure the network and started an internal investigation.

The city also got an independent, nationally-recognized computer forensics expert to restore affected systems and data, and to analyze how the incident took place.

As the FBI investigation continues, the City was advised not to disclose the complete nature of the attack until the city’s systems and data can by fully restored.

The city said it takes the security of the information very seriously. They said they are actively taking steps to strengthen their security to reduce the likelihood of a similar event in the future.

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