Virus threat shuts down county website

Beginning Saturday, Aug. 18,  the San Benito County information technology office took county websites offline, following the detection of a virus in the system. Access to several databases, including elections and the assessor, were still shut down as of 4pm Thursday, Aug. 23.

Emergency Services Manager, Kevin O’Neill, said the sites were taken down as a precautionary measure to make sure the virus didn’t spread. He said departments were being prioritized to get back online, but could not say Aug. 23 when the process would be completed.

The virus caused online information like November election candidates to be unreachable. This is because the information came through county databases that were taken offline following the virus detection.

O’Neill said the IT department has been working 12-16-hour days to ensure the departments are put back online. They are prioritizing the departments and completing the process in phases to ensure the virus won’t come back.

As of Thursday, Aug. 23, there was no certainty as to when all sites would be up again. O’Neill said the IT department was moving slowly, but methodically.

“All of the county network is down, and that’s by choice,” he said. O’Neill said the sites were taken down when the virus was detected so it would not continue to spread.

O’Neill said the public should contact individual department offices by telephone was the best way to get information this week, and that the departments should be able to give most information, despite the issues.

He said all public-safety-related databases were up and working. O’Neill also said that this was not the result of an election related hack attack, and that all election information in the county database was secure.

He said some portions of the site have been operating with no problems during this time.

Contact information for each department can still be found at


  1. The countywide network shut down was by choice? That’s an odd statement being that this breach had a severe impact on the counties ability to operate – because of a simple “virus”. How can something that is so easy to prevent, wreak havoc on county operations? Someone needs to look into this and question how much this cost the county and furthermore, why basic security measures to protect the counties critical infrastructure was not in place or functional. To what level was the database servers compromised and was any data or information stolen? Can they even tell if there was a theft? A virus is a breach and a breach is a hack. There should be a proper investigation into this matter. This put our data at risk and the counties departments back to working in the dark ages, while they tried to “repair” the problem. Ask questions people, it’s our data and county resources their mismanaging.

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