Roxana Police Department the latest victim of ransomware

ROXANA, IL (KTVI) – A metro east police department is recovering from an attack on the department’s computer system. It’s another case of ransomware.

The St. Louis City Library dealt with a ransomware attack last month. The Roxana Police Department was just getting back to normal.

“It’s aggravating when they hack somebody like the police,” said Dan Bruggeman, a lifelong Roxana resident. “They’re there to protect us. If their system goes down, we’re all in trouble.”

Folks in Roxana are talking about what happened at the police department. It was February 1 when the computers went down and it was not until Thursday they were all working again.

Dan Gonzales, who works for the Riverbender Tech Center in Alton, said he’s seen computers damaged by ransomware.

“What’s happening are people are trying to make money,” Gonzales said. “It’s illegal. When someone clicks on an unusual email or downloads something they shouldn’t, they can welcome the ransomware virus into their computer. It causes the computer to freeze and it cannot be used unless a ransom is paid. It makes customers angry.”

Gonzales said he can typically get the computer operating again, but that usually means the owners lose any data that wasn’t backed up.

Roxana Police Chief Will Cunningham said that citizens’ safety was not in danger and that the police did not pay the ransom

The FBI is investigating the matter.

Cunningham said Roxana police have five levels of computer security. He added the department does back up its data.

The chief did not disclose the amount of the ransom demand.