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Computer virus that struck Wadena in June resulted in losses and $10,000 insurance claim

A virus hit City Hall computers in June, causing the system to be down for five days in a two-week period. "Our computers were down for a total of five days over about a two-week period of time," said City Administrator Brad Swenson. The computer...

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A virus hit City Hall computers in June, causing the system to be down for five days in a two-week period.

"Our computers were down for a total of five days over about a two-week period of time," said City Administrator Brad Swenson.

The computer virus originated in the Planning and Zoning office, resulting in several documents being lost, though hard copies were still available.

"A lot of that documentation will have to be reconstructed," said Dean Uselman. "We will be busy re-creating forms and documents of all sorts this winter."

The virus was a kind of ransomware, Swenson said. "It did a lot of strange things," he added, including encrypting files and requesting a ransom to unlock them.

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"It took our technicians a long time to get things figured out," Swenson said. "In the front office, we lost about two weeks of postings for utility bills and a lot of accounting items that employees have had to re-create."

An insurance claim nearing $10,000 has been submitted and the city of Wadena has approved hiring a law firm recommended by the League of Minnesota Cities to investigate the computer issues further.

"There's concerns in these kinds of situations that you have data privacy breaches," Swenson said. "Hopefully this doesn't turn into that."

Insurance covers the cost of hiring the law firm, which is investigating as a precaution. Nothing has been found so far that points to a data privacy breach.

"Our computer company is quite confident that there wasn't but for insurance reasons and liability reasons they want to do a little more in-depth investigation in case of any future claims that could arise with a data breach." Swenson said.

Related Topics: WADENA
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