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Fremont County government services closed due to a cyber security breach

FREMONT COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) -- Many government services were put on pause in Fremont County Wednesday due to a cyber security attack.

Around 3 a.m. on Aug. 17, officials realized the county's systems were hacked. That cyber security threat shut down the Department of Human Services, the Department of Public Health, and the Fremont County Administration Building. The administration building houses many services including the county assessor, treasurer, coroner, veterans services, and planning and zoning.

According to Fremont County Commissioner Debbie Bell, all of these departments shut down Wednesday.

Officers were able to get the Fremont County Sheriffs Department up and running.

"We have a great I.T. team. Let me say that they were able to pull some computers together that were ready to go out into use but never have been, and so we've got the Sheriff's Department up and running," said Bell.

According to Bell, they still don't know what's wrong, but they're taking this "very seriously" and following all procedures for a cyber security attack.

After being notified, all staff was notified immediately to not use any computers in the building. That includes not logging into work emails on their phones.

At this time, officials don't believe any government data has been taken.

Sign on the Fremont County Administration Building door warning of closure, Aug. 17. 2022

Bell said she's had to turn away residents who tried going into the administration building Wednesday. However, workers still accepted calls and tried helping residents over the phone as best as possible.

"We know that it will affect the public all day long today. I don't see there's any way that we will be reopened today for any reason. I don't know what the future looks like," said Bell.

This isn't just an inconvenience for citizens, Bell explained that it's been stressful for the workers too.

"When we are unable to provide that service, it stresses all of us out. And so I've been walking around. I've been in most of our departments already today at some point in time having those conversations with them and, you know, just understand, please, that we are working on it. We will get back up and running as quickly as we can," said Bell.

Bell said cyber security breaches aren't uncommon.

"We do understand that we are very vulnerable. We do everything in our power to protect ourselves. And yet sometimes it's still just not enough," said Bell.

In addition to solving the issue, the Fremont County Sheriff's Office is searching for whoever is responsible for the threat. Bell said the sheriff's office will "hold whoever is behind the threat accountable."

"We will do everything that we can to find who is responsible for this and to hold them to the letter of the law. Absolutely. Yes. We don't want to see anyone walk free from this," said Debbie Bell.

Fremont County officials told KRDO they don't know when this issue will be resolved.

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Barbara Fox

Barbara is a reporter based out of Pueblo for KRDO

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