Jackson County Shuts Down IT System Following Potential Cyber Attack

Potential ransomware attacks affect the offices of assessment, collection and recorder of deeds in all Jackson County locations.

Jackson County officials note offices for the Kansas City Board of Elections and Jackson County Board of Elections are not impacted by the disruptions within its IT systems.

Posted April 2, 2024

Updated at 1:13 p.m., April 2, 2024

Jackson County officials have shut down computer systems for some offices due to increasing system disruptions and the potential threat of a ransomware attack.

Early indications suggest operational inconsistencies across Jackson County’s digital infrastructure leading to certain systems rendered inoperative while others remain functional, according to a Jackson County release.

Computer systems affected by the potential attack are the assessment, collection and recorder of deeds offices at all county locations. The affected offices will be closed indefinitely.

The news of a potential cyber attack comes on the day of the April 2 ballot vote where Jackson County residents will vote on the 3/8th cent sales tax over the next 40 years for the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals stadium projects.

Jackson County officials note the Kansas City Board of Elections and Jackson County Board of Elections were not impacted by the computer system outage, according to the release.

The county has also taken action to find the cause of the disruptions and will provide more information as it becomes available.

The statement reads:

The County has promptly notified law enforcement and enlisted the expertise of IT security contractors to assist in the investigation and remediation of the situation. The integrity of our digital network and the confidentiality of resident data is the County’s top priority. At this time, we do not have any information suggesting that any data has been compromised. We are currently in the early stages of our diagnostic procedures, working closely with our cybersecurity partners to thoroughly explore all possibilities and identify the root cause of the situation. While the investigation considers ransomware as a potential cause, comprehensive analyses are underway to confirm the exact nature of the disruption.

State of Emergency declared

Shortly following the statement, Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency in response to the attack. 

“This incident reinforces why it is critical to maintain our emergency reserves and why these funds are indispensable in times of crisis,” White said in a release. “Allocating resources for robust cybersecurity measures is not only about protecting our data but also about safeguarding the public trust. Today more than ever, it is clear that such investments are essential and prudent.”

White mandated action from county staff to ensure the protection of resident data and the continuation of critical services.