By Debra Moore
If you’ve sent an email to a Plumas County official lately and haven’t heard back, don’t take it personally. With the exception of the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office and the Behavioral Health Department (both of which operate on separate servers), the county’s email system is down.
And according to two county officials who wish to remain anonymous at this point, the email isn’t the only technology that’s impacted. County departments such as the assessor, tax collector, auditor, clerk/recorder, human resources, district attorney, the county counsel, board of supervisors and more have had their systems hacked and are unable to access their data.
According to one official, it’s been going on for more than a week, and the county is enlisting outside assistance. “Every conceivable amount of information has been obtained,” the source said, adding that there is apparently a countdown to begin releasing the information that has been obtained, onto the internet.
When asked if this was a ransomware attack and, if so, what was being demanded, neither official knew the details.
According to the sources, the information that has been accessed encompasses not only that of county employees, but could also include members of the public who have had business with the county such as property taxes, real estate transactions, voter information, etc.
During the Plumas County Board of Supervisors’ meeting today, Nov. 16, the only mention of the hack came when County Counsel Gretchen Stuhr and County Administrator Gabriel Hydrick said that the county’s email wasn’t working — and that admission was in response to a woman speaking during public comment, who wanted to know why no one had responded to her email regarding a dispute with a solid waste company.
There was no formal announcement made by the county administrator or the supervisors about the email problem or the county’s servers being hacked.
When Plumas News contacted Board Chairman Jeff Engel, and asked about the email and server issues, he said that “it’s just about the email.” He said that the county’s Information Technology director was working on it and he was confident that the problem would be fixed soon.
When asked if he thought the county should alert the public to the email situation — so that anyone who had tried to contact the county would be aware of the problem — he said “no, the county still has phone lines.”
Plumas News tried to reach County Administrator Gabriel Hydrick for more information, but the county email isn’t working and his county phone line wouldn’t accept a voice mail, so a message was left on his mobile phone.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.