Watch CBS News

Ransomware attacks hit Wheat Ridge, Fremont County: 'Everything Was Impacted'

Ransomware attacks hit Wheat Ridge, Fremont County: 'Everything Was Impacted'
Ransomware attacks hit Wheat Ridge, Fremont County: 'Everything Was Impacted' 02:03

Cyber attackers have burrowed into the computer networks of both Wheat Ridge and Fremont 

County, causing chaos and demanding as much as $5 million ransom for government entities to regain control of their data and systems.

"There were some significant impacts," said Amanda Harrison, a spokeswoman for Wheat Ridge.

"We are working with sophisticated foreign agents from eastern Europe or Russia," she told CBS4.

The Wheat Ridge hack was discovered on Aug. 29 causing the city to take down its phone and email systems, some payment systems and police records have not been immediately available to the public, according to Harrison.

She said the attackers have captured some city data but, "the investigation into what data they took from our system is still being investigated."

The FBI and state of Colorado have assisted in addressing the hack.

While the hackers demanded $5 million in ransom, the city has opted not to pay any ransom, choosing to try to circumvent the attack and restore network systems on their own.

Harrison said city staffers and IT consultants have been able to restore most services and citizens likely aren't noticing any change.

The city said it does not believe the hackers got into the system through a city employee error, but computer security is being beefed up, said Harrison.

The attackers utilized BlackCat ransomware, which is the same ransomware that was deployed in Fremont County in southern Colorado on Aug. 17.

Fremont County Emergency Manager Mykel Kroll was blunt in his assessment of what the hackers have done: "Everything was impacted. I hope we never have to go through this again."

He told CBS4 no ransom has been paid in the data breach but he said personal information for some county employees and members of the public might have been seized by the hackers.

The Fremont County Sheriff's Office says some jail inmate data "has been deemed unrecoverable."

The county website was taken down and Kroll said supply chain issues were slowing the effort to get everything back up and running.

Vikki Migoya with the Denver FBI field office said she could not discuss either of the recent cyber attacks.

"The FBI cannot comment on specific incidents, but I can say that FBI Denver routinely advises both public and private-sector organizations and businesses about cyber threats. We work with our state, federal and local partners to identify, pursue and defeat cyber criminals," said Migoya.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.