Madison County Commissioners reevaluate computer security after hacking attempts

MADISON COUNTY, Ala. -- After hacking attempts on both the Madison County and the Madison County Sheriff's Office computer systems, county commissioners are rethinking their security precautions. Namely, should they continue to maintain separate systems.

"There's always those folks out there who are laying awake at night trying to figure out a way to undo what you've done," said District Six Commissioner Bob Harrison.

Recently, the Madison County Sheriff's Office computer system suffered a debilitating virus. It caused thousands of dollars worth of damage, and disabled the system for weeks. This caused the commission to reevaluate their IT security.

"Realize the costliness of allowing that to happen, and we're going to take whatever preventives we can to prevent it from happening in the future," said Harrison.

As of right now, the IT systems for Madison County and the sheriff's office are separate.

"What happens if you've got a requirement somewhere else to interface with somebody else's data? Nobody can talk to one another," said Harrison.

He said he wants to bring both of the systems together.

"Transition or be able to build interfaces between the systems so that we could have universal access around the county," explained.

Sheriff Blake Dorning said they need to remain separate for now, due to an urgent need on his end. But, the threat of hackers remains.

When asked if he was concerned about the threat of a similar attack on the county's computer system Harrison had this to say: "There was an attempt to get in and it caused damage but they were not able to successfully get into our system which indicates to me that we're probably prepared that if we did have a violation we could remediate it pretty quickly," said Commissioner Harrison.

Due to the sheriff's office urgent need for a new system, the county commission will table the effort to bring the two systems under one umbrella for now.