Ouachita County affected by data breach

County Judge: No personal information compromised or damage to county servers

An information breach of Apprentice Information Systems, which offers computer services to more than half of Arkansas' counties, has affected Ouachita County, but no data has been compromised, according to Ouachita County Judge Robert McAdoo.

"We're down to paper in our collectors office, but we also use a program called Financial Intelligent Software. We use it in the County Clerk's office and we also use it in the Treasurers office," McAdoo said. "So we were affected by the Apprentice superbreach."

McAdoo added that it could take some time for everything to go back to normal.

He stated, "We couldn't do our normal direct deposit of payroll this week, so we did give paper checks this week. The preliminary conversations we're getting from Apprentice is maybe two weeks."

He said that the investigation into the breach is ongoing, but doesn't think that county servers were targeted.

"We don't suspect any local damage." he stated. "We've been advised that it doesn't look like our local was affected, it's all on the Apprentice server.

"Right now they have Homeland Security and CyberSecurity Crimes Server going in their server, trying to pinpoint where the (mal)ware came from. If there has been a ransom, I don't know anything about that. Somebody went in and did some stuff they shouldn't have been doing and shouldn't have been able to get into," he continued.

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported on Monday that Apprentice instructed some government offices to shut down their servers over the weekend as a precaution because of a possible security breach.

The move led some county offices to close Monday and others to keep paper records. Officials said Tuesday that the shutdown had no effect on the state's election process.

Apprentice Information Systems operates in just about every county in Arkansas, a spokesman said Tuesday, but not necessarily every county is going to have issues with their servers. The spokesman, Doug Matayo, is a consultant for the company and is also chief executive officer of Standing Rock Consulting.

"I know that some systems are coming on now ... but it could be early next week before the majority of counties come up completely, there's still obviously a forensic look taking place, making sure everything's clean," Matayo said. "Every county is kind of in their disaster protocol, which basically means their non-technology protocols for now in the interim, but Apprentice and the counties are in contact each day conducting assessments and updates."

McAdoo stated, "It has 'crippled' us a little bit by not being able to carry out or normal routines with direct deposit and they're having to do stuff at the Collector's office by paper their right now."

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporter Christina LaRue contributed to this report.