Finney County shut down its computer network for the second time in a week Tuesday morning in an attempt to protect county data while malware is identified and eliminated.

The network was shut down at 10 a.m. Tuesday and will be off until the maware is located, removed and preventive safeguards are in place, according to a press release from the county. County services, including email and Internet, will be affected by the shutdown until further notice.

The Finney County Information Technology department requested assistance from the Department of Homeland Security Incident Response Team and Trend Micro, a locally installed anti-virus software company. The county also notified the Kansas Secretary of State's Office about the inconvenience to comply with voting processes.

According to the release, the county’s IT department previously discovered and addressed potential threats on individual computers. When the threats began piling up faster than they could be addressed, the county shut down the network on Thursday to isolate the threat. When IT believed the infection to be contained and cleaned, the network was brought back online Friday, after which the virus spread again to once-clean devices, according to the release.

The county identified the cause of the malware as a “malicious attack” to a computer outside the county’s private network. According to the release, the computer’s address book was hacked and sent email links to Finney County employees, which ultimately caused their computers to lock.

Because of backups and other precautions, the release stated that the county was “confident that our data has been completely protected by this network shutdown.”

For more information, contact Finney County Communications Specialist Sara McClure at (620) 272-3521.