Cyberattack still plagues city of Spring Hill; Dispatchers taking calls by hand

(Photo: WKRN)

SPRING HILL, Tenn. (WKRN) – For the past 10 days, the city of Spring Hill has been battling a cyberattack. The ransomware that hit the city’s computer system demanded $250,000 to reconnect the servers.

Spring Hill refused and began rebuilding its system.

In the meantime, the attack shut down email accounts, froze out computer reports, disrupted employee direct deposits, and stopped citizens from making online payments for utilities, court expenses, and permits.

(Photo: WKRN)

Even on Monday, at times, a line was out the door at Spring Hill’s city business office, full of people like Charles Williams who was there to pay cash for his grandson’s traffic ticket.

“Personally they ought to get the FBI involved and find the moron get a .45 caliber slug and be done with it,” he told News 2.

While the cyberattack was an inconvenience for some, it can be a matter of life and death for emergency responders.

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In this case, emergency dispatchers have had to improvise. Calls that were once logged on their computer are now being written by hand on a dry-erase board.

(Photo: WKRN)

The glitch has shut down the computer-aided dispatch system in the 911 center and all mobile data terminals in police cars.

“This keeps track of our active police officers and medics out on a call,” said Director Brandi Smith about the white board.

“We write it down on paper, take the call number, put it behind them, so no matter who is working they know where the officer is, because despite all this, officer safety is still important to us,” she told News 2.

Until the systems are fixed, every call is represented in a hand-written report. There’s now a growing stack papers representing the more than 400 calls taken since the ransomware attack hit on Nov. 3.

(Photo: WKRN)

“You will still get the help you need, not impeding that at all, we need to write it down, but the response and the officers will still be there when you need them,” Smith explained.

City officials do say the part of the system that covers 911 and city emails could be restored by Tuesday.

However, it could be a while longer before direct deposits and online payments for the public are restored.

City officials confirm the appropriate law enforcement agencies have been contacted regarding the cyberattack, and there will no late fees this month for utility bills.