Cyberattack causes St. Louis County to shut down some public safety computer servers

CLAYTON — A cyberattack caused St. Louis County to shut down some computer systems used to look up court cases, issue charges and process people in custody at the jail, County Executive Sam Page said Tuesday.

Police officers, jail officials, the county counselor, municipal court officials and the prosecuting attorney’s office all use the Regional Justice Information System, or REJIS. The county was alerted to the problem Monday afternoon, said Doug Moore, a spokesman for Page.

The attack didn’t affect 911 services, but the county was booking and releasing people from jail on paper instead of doing it electronically.

The REJIS Commission is a government agency that serves criminal justice departments across Missouri and in Illinois and Kansas.

The agency is working with SpearTip, a cybersecurity company, to determine if any data was compromised, Page said. Missouri Highway Patrol also assisted the county with running warrants and other tasks.

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The county needs to invest in cybersecurity, Page said at the St. Louis County Council meeting Tuesday night. The county hired a cybersecurity expert earlier this year to conduct an audit of the county’s systems, Page said.

“The cost of even a temporary shutdown of county government far exceeds the investment we need to make in cybersecurity,” Page said, “and yesterday we thought a shut down was where we were headed.”

The county executive said he plans to ask the council later this week to invest more money in cybersecurity.

Some municipal courts in the Kansas City area suspended services Tuesday because of a security issue, television news station KCTV reported.

Editor’s note: This story was updated Wednesday afternoon to clarify the Missouri Highway Patrol’s role in responding to the cyber attack.

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