Lee County website back online following cybersecurity breach, residents want answers

The Lee County government website is back online following a cybersecurity breach last week.

On Friday, Lee County manager Roger Desjarlais announced the incident and said the cyberattack is being actively investigated.

In reaction to this incident, the county temporarily disabled access to the website leegov.com. As of Tuesday afternoon, the site appears to be back online, but it’s unclear if any portions remain unavailable.

The county websites and internal services were affected by the breach. Services like bill paying and applying for permits were not available.

Lee County spokeswoman Betsy Clayton said in an emailed statement:

“Users may experience intermittent connectivity or service outages as we continue to restore all online county services.

“Lee County continues to restore electronic-based services. Manual payment has been and continues to be accepted.

“The county understands members of the public want to know more about this incident. But the county’s goal and obligation remains the protection of personal information that belongs to the public and our employees. The details and security measures involved in this situation are part of an active law enforcement investigation and cannot be discussed.”

Many affected by the attack are looking for answers

Commissioner Frank Mann said Tuesday he wants to believe the crisis is behind us; that the serious damage has been corrected and that’s it.

But that’s not it, if you talk to people hurt by the five-day cyberattack.

From cats, to construction projects, Lee County’s cyberhack was an inconvenience to many.

“I called them first and they said all the lines were down and the computers were down. You have to bring the cat in,” said Ayeshia Bell.

Tom Bohanon was told to try again tomorrow to renew his business license. He’s got until next week to get his necessary paperwork or faces a penalty fine.

“I don’t think they’d be able to imply any fees. It’s their problem if we can’t get it renewed,” he said.

He wasn’t the only business owner that ran into difficulties Tuesday while the county’s systems were still down.

“We’ve got people waiting to start work and the owner is screaming at us. So we’re getting heat and this is the last thing we needed,” said Greg Robel of G. Robel Construction.

County workers had to pull permits for Robel’s construction project by hand.

“We are sorry that you were inconvenienced. These things happen in this modern world, but we’re up and running,” said Mann.

The website started to come back online late Tuesday morning. When we asked Mann some critical questions about the cyberattack, he responded, “You’re speaking to an elderly gentleman who works for the government. I’m not a tech person.”

We asked the county for someone who is a tech person to talk with us, to no avail.

The county spokesperson told us by email, our questions and your questions are now part of an active investigation.

The county won’t even say who is leading that investigation, but we have confirmed that the FBI is working the case.

Writer:Briana Harvath
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