La Salle County ransomware attack cost an estimated $500,000; insurance will cover almost all expenses

County will only have to pay $5,000 deductible

Expenses still are rolling in from a February ransomware attack on La Salle County governments.

The county will be able to pay only a $5,000 deductible to its insurance company to cover all the costs, including hundreds of hours of overtime put in by its IT staff.

IT Director John Haag said at a finance committee meeting last week the total cost of the ransomware attack could be about $500,000 when it’s all said and done.

He told the committee the investigation alone cost more than $100,000.

The county has spent $66,250.76 on various new equipment, which will be reimbursed by the insurance company.

Haag told the finance committee he makes sure he checks with the insurance company first before buying new equipment to alleviate any disputes later. He said some tools bought to remedy the attack may not be reimbursed, because insurance typically covers what’s been lost.

Nikki Baer of the La Salle County auditor’s office said her office will be tracking potential losses in other departments as a result of the ransomware attack.

The county’s governmental offices were infected with the attack Feb. 23. The incident took down email accounts, limited access to documents and caused many county services to be provided “the old-fashioned way” with paper.

Ransomware is a malicious software attack designed to block access to a computer system until a ransom is paid – the county didn’t pay.

Derek Barichello

Derek Barichello

Derek Barichello is the news editor for The Times in Ottawa and NewsTribune in La Salle, part of Shaw Local News Network, covering La Salle, Bureau and Putnam counties. He covers local and breaking news in the areas of government, education, business and crime and courts, among others.