An external computer from outside of Finney County’s private network attempted to hack the county’s computer network, which resulted in the county’s Information Technology department shutting down the network for a period of time on Thursday and Friday.

“We are confident that our data has been completely protected by this total network shut down,” according to a press release from Sara McClure, the county’s communication specialist. "Finney County IT maintains multiple backups. A total network shutdown was the quickest, safest way to clean the network and protect the data.”

According to the release, two weeks ago, the IT department discovered and began addressing potential threats on individual computers as they were identified. When threats began coming in faster than IT could address, county officials decided to shut down the network as a whole in order to prevent threats from spreading to the county’s data.

The network was shut down from 1:30 p.m. Thursday to about 9:30 a.m. Friday.

The IT department identified the cause as a malicious attack to an external computer (outside the county’s private network), according to the release, and the source computer’s email address book was hacked and began distributing email links to Finney County employees.

According to the release, the county hasn't determined the source of the attack and doesn't intend to use its resources to find it, instead focusing on safeguarding the county network against future hacking attempts.