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Ingham offices close Tues. after virus hits computers

Michael Gerstein
The Detroit News

Lansing — Ingham County has closed its Lansing office and Main Mason Historical Courthouse over network security concerns after the county computer system became infected with a virus, Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum said Monday.

Byrum sent an email to reporters noting the office closures Monday and said in a follow up phone call that a virus has infected the county’s computer system. She said computer experts working to fix the problem had asked her not to identify the computer virus or its origin, and that they’re “focused on fixing the problem.”

Byrum also shut down both offices Tuesday due to ongoing security concerns, her office said.

The county computer system stores concealed pistol permits, birth, marriage and death certificates, birth dates, Social Security numbers, addresses and other personal information that could be used for identity fraud.

Byrum said repair experts don’t believe any of that information was leaked, but information technology staff at this time “is not certain.”

The clerk said she closed the office in an effort not to “compromise sensitive data” or “private information."

Byrum said, “I am taking action to make sure my office is not putting any of that data at risk."

A special election scheduled on Tuesday for East Lansing and Haslett Public Schools is still scheduled and the office closures won’t affect the election results, she adds.

The move follows concerns before the November presidential election about attempted hacking of election systems in several states. Intelligence officials said after the election that hackers did not breach voting machines or computers that tallied the results.

Michigan’s election director also said there was no evidence the Michigan results were tampered with. President Donald Trump won Michigan by 10,704 votes.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein requested a statewide recount that was halted by state and federal courts after ballots from nearly 40 percent of Michigan’s statewide precincts had been recounted. The courts said Stein wasn’t eligible to request the recount.

Stein and others said they worried that the state’s close presidential results may have been the result of tampering.


Twitter: @MikeGerstein