Jasper Co. emergency dispatchers adjusting after cyber attack. 911 unaffected, officials say

More than a month after Jasper County suffered a malware attack that slowed its online services, officials say 911 responses have not been affected, but the attack has changed the way dispatchers perform their work.

County Administrator Andy Fulghum said 911 emergency services — calls to 911 and dispatchers’ responses — were never down, but some tasks now must be done manually.

“We have backup plans, and we’re initiating the backup plans, but it should not have affected any services,” he said.

Franklin Edwards, director of Jasper County Emergency Services and chief of Jasper County Fire-Rescue, confirmed that the Sept. 25 malware attack affected ”the tech support pieces that help (the dispatchers) do their job better, such as mapping and time-tracking.”

Public safety was not compromised, he said.

“I’m not going to sit here and say we’re doing it in the same time frame, but it’s not significantly different,” Edwards said. “It may take a few more seconds to look something up on a map to make sure something’s right, maybe, but it’s not significant.”

An outside company has been hired to help fix the system, both officials said. When the new, updated system will begin operating is unclear.

“We have suffered because it’s taken a great deal of time to bring that system back online,” Fulghum said.

The malware attack is being investigated by the S.C. Law Enforcement Division and the FBI.

Lana Ferguson has reported on a smorgasbord of news for The Island Packet & Beaufort Gazette since June 2018. Before coming to the Lowcountry, she worked for publications in her home state of Virginia and graduated from the University of Mississippi, where she was editor of the college’s daily newspaper.
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