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Middletown 'dodged a bullet' in hacking, city official says in email

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Posted at 1:14 PM, Nov 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-26 13:18:00-05

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio -- Middletown officials feared hackers might have gotten to sensitive information during an attack earlier this month, but the city appears to have "dodged a bullet."

It's the second reported incident involving a local government since October.

In Middletown, the hacked servers handle city payroll and human resources information. Credit card data isn't stored on those servers, city officials said.

Hackers weren't logged into a server for longer than 2 minutes, Middletown Information Systems Director Troy Anderton wrote in an email obtained by the Journal-News. Anderton said that's not enough time to copy data.

"It was just a remote encryption exploit," he told city leaders, according to the records. "Give us a little more time but it appears that we may have dodged a bullet."

Middletown City Manager Doug Adkins did say police were investigating, but he declined further comment.

In October, Cincinnati officials found someone had tried to breach their network; in that case, the hackers didn't break through the city's security, Cincinnati city spokesman Rocky Merz said.

"Unfortunately, in this day and age, this is not an uncommon occurrence," he said.

Cincinnati's IT staff was working with the FBI to figure out if they needed to take any extra security measures, Merz said.

Read more at the Journal-News, a WCPO media partner.