An investigation into a July 7 incident that paralyzed Joplin city government’s computer and telephone systems is still active, according to a city statement.
A city spokesperson reported in a statement Tuesday that online payments can be made again on sewer and trash bills. But there was no new information about what caused the systems failure or what has been had to be done to restore them.
“Our investigation into the recent network security incident remains ongoing; we will continue to provide updates as appropriate. Thank you for your patience,” read a statement issued by Lynn Onstot.
Asked Wednesday about the cause of what is being called the “network security incident,” Onstot replied, “We don’t have any new information at this time. We’ll keep you posted on any new developments.”
City officials had previously told the Globe, in response to questions about the security of personal information of city residents who make utility payments online, that the information was safe because a third-party provider is used for that service.
A link to the payment portal for those bills can be found at www.joplinmo.org/payments. Onstot said that in-person payments can be made at City Hall by credit card at both the finance department window for utility bills and the municipal court offices for court fines.
Law enforcement officers and a cybersecurity firm were called to investigate the incident, city officials said July 8. The affected systems were isolated as part of that effort.
“As we investigate the incident and bring our systems back online, we will look for opportunities to further enhance our existing security measures,” Onstot said at the time.
City officials would not say at the time if Joplin’s outage was connected to a ransomware attack, including one that hit businesses in at least 17 countries, that started July 2.
Telephone services were restored to city offices within days, but some computer functions, such as the city’s COVID-19 dashboard that had been providing details about COVID-19 cases, have not been restored.