The St. Lucie County tax collector’s office experienced a recent ransomware attack, leading to the temporary shutdown of its computer system. Tax Collector Chris Craft confirmed the incident, assuring the public that personal information such as driver’s license details and car registration, stored on a state server, remained secure and was not accessed during the cyberattack.
Furthermore, Craft emphasized that the credit card information handled by a third-party vendor was also unaffected. Although the hackers’ ransom demands and motives were not disclosed, state law prohibits government agencies from paying ransoms in the event of cyberattacks. Despite the absence of a data breach, the aftermath of the ransomware attack incurred significant expenses, particularly in the form of labor required to restore and secure the systems.
Additionally, Craft highlighted the extensive effort involved in addressing the incident, noting the considerable challenges faced by the tax collector’s office. The attack underscores the increasing threats faced by public services from cybercriminals and the potential financial and operational consequences, even in cases where personal data remains uncompromised. Craft expressed the severity of the situation, describing it as the most challenging experience in his 20 years of public service.