LISBON — Lawyers, title company workers, and citizens looking to record documents before the end of 2022 have found themselves unable to do so for now, thanks to a security breach affecting the offices of the Columbiana County Recorder. rice field.
Other Columbiana County offices and servers are unaffected.
County Recorder Jim Armeni Sr. announced the issue on Thursday, posting a note on his office door, contacting local news outlets, and posting on the office’s website to notify everyone. A press release has been posted.
Armeni said he received a notice on Monday from Cott, the software vendor for the registrar’s office, that a security threat had been detected on Christmas Day. He said the situation is also affecting Recorder’s offices in Lorraine, Portage, Delaware, Knox, Ashtabula and Morrow counties, as well as other businesses and government agencies in other states.
Cott Systems provides the software that the Recorder’s Office uses to process documents. Armeni said Cotto shut down connections to all servers and clients, including the registrar’s office, after seeing unusual activity during routine system maintenance over the weekend. .
The breach reportedly occurred at an off-site data center containing the recorder’s office data. On Wednesday, Armeni said he had received confirmation that the problem was a cyberattack affecting multiple institutions using the data center. In his press release, he said the breach was under investigation by both the Department of Homeland Security and his FBI.
“This is the world we live in and it came to us.” He said.
No recordings have been made since Tuesday, when offices reopened after the Christmas holidays. The office cannot access documents that have already been recorded, cannot record new documents, or pay with cash or credit card.
“All we can do is date and stamp the paperwork.” Armeni said.
Until the system is restored, everything will be stored in a fireproof secure file cabinet and only payment by check will be accepted. He said they record the documents they couldn’t record as soon as they get permission from his software provider.
Deputy Registrar Tina Franz said the date the document was finally processed will be the date it becomes official, as backdating the document is not permitted.
For real estate professionals and those looking to record documents, Armeni said, “It ruins them.” He contacted attorneys and title companies to make them aware of the circumstances that could affect deeds, mortgages, trusts and limited liability companies.
He doesn’t yet know if the information in the recorder’s office system has been compromised.
Ben Black, Chief Deputy System Administrator for the County Court Clerk’s Office, emphasizes: “None of our county infrastructure was affected. The Court Clerk’s data center was not compromised.”
The software used by Recorder’s Office is separate from other county systems. Black said the servers used by court clerks are located on the court premises and have not been compromised.
“This is the biggest fear for IT administrators.” Black spoke of the violation.
He assists the recorder’s office with hardware problems and attempts to answer questions from Armeni about the violation.
Armeni said most of the calls to his office are from people trying to access the website and wondering what’s wrong.
“So far, people understand.” He said, Franz added: “It’s out of our control.”
The software provider didn’t provide a timeline for when service would be restored.
“We apologize for the inconvenience and will release more details as soon as we receive notice from the vendor.” Armeni said in a notice.
Offices are expected to be open at normal hours today, with courts and county offices closed January 2 for the New Year holidays.