They are responsible for keeping and protecting your most important records.
But on Thursday, a company working with a local government in North Carolina was crippled by a seemingly endless cyberattack.
Cott Systems said it is working with 300 local offices in 21 states, but that work is now on hold and local offices are facing adverse effects.
From birth certificates to death certificates, the most important records are kept in the county register. At least six of her registers in North Carolina remain unresolved this week.
Nash, Halifax, Edgecombe, Greene, Pamlico and Jones counties were locked out of online records after a cyber attack on Cott Systems on Christmas Day.
Steve Cobb is Chief Information Security Officer at One Source Communications, a cybersecurity company. Details of the attack on Cott are limited, but Cobb said ransomware attacks are on the rise.
“Since the week before Christmas, we’ve seen an uptick,” Cobb said. “While we are on vacation, the attackers are not.”
For local governments, this is a serious pain as registers are forced back to pen and paper record keeping.
Not all county registrars are affected equally. Greene County was unable to issue or index marriage licenses.
Others, including Jones County, are still fully operational, but at slower speeds, he said. Staff on Thursday urged people to “be patient. We’re doing everything we can.”
Nash County deputy county manager Scott Rogers said important records like birth certificates and property deeds should be safe, but adding new records may not be possible in some cases. .
“It’s all a lot slower paced,” Rogers said. “What we are not good at is recording real estate transactions and issuing marriage licenses.”
Rogers said he believes the county has found a workaround, but according to Cobb, undoing the damage this cyberattack caused will not be easy or quick.
“Days, if not weeks,” Cobb said.
Cott declined multiple requests for comment from WRAL News, but multiple records were found of the deed that Cott has provided them with daily updates since the cyberattack occurred. The cause of the attack has not been disclosed, but two different external cybersecurity teams are working on Cott, according to the company.