Skip to main content
Publish date:

Hennepin County hit by cyberattack, emails compromised

Hackers gained access through phishing emails.

Hennepin County is responding to a cyberattack that saw hackers gain access to the email accounts of around 20 employees.

While this is a small fraction of the 9,300 staff the county employs, the attackers used the access to send malicious emails from the Hennepin County accounts, which look as if they'd been genuinely sent by a county worker.

It's also possible they accessed emails that contained private data about residents for whom the county provides services, with officials currently in the process of evaluating how much information has been compromised.

The county said they infiltrated the accounts using phishing emails that started arriving at the end of June.

It has now referred the matter to the FBI for investigation, as well as notifying various vendors with which it has a business relationship.

"Hennepin County takes its responsibility to protect resident data very seriously," Jerome Driessen, the county's chief information officer, said.

"We continue ongoing employee training and education. We also continuously enhance IT security measures to prevent increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks, and we hope this announcement can further dialogue about the increasing threats to all organizations’ cybersecurity."

Want more BMTN stories? Sign up for our daily newsletters.

Hackers use phishing attacks by disguising emails that contain a link or attachment for the recipient to click or download, giving the hacker sensitive information or access to the account in the process.

Driessen says that Hennepin County is increasing facing the threat of phishing attacks, "like many organizations."

"We’ve been aggressively responding to and monitoring activity since the first indication, and increased our efforts to protect staff this week," he added.

Next Up

Kirk Cousins

Mike Zimmer wants Kirk Cousins to keep 'going for the jugular'

But at what point is being aggressive too aggressive?

pixabay gun holding - CROP

'Extraordinarily bad idea': MN sheriff urges locals against firing 'warning shots'

The sheriff has seen a "handful" of warning shot incidents lately in response to possible prowlers.

waukesha parade screengrab

Waukesha parade: Police ID victims, reveal more about suspect

Two injured children remain in critical condition.

Dodge Center

Large police response to incident in Dodge Center

Triton Public Schools have been placed in a soft lockdown as a precaution.

rochester 1

Gallery: Renovated downtown Rochester home on the market for $2.3M

It's steps from the Mayo Clinic in an historic neighborhood.

hopkins high school GSV Pro - CROP

As students protest Rittenhouse verdict, fight in school prompts shelter-in-place

The high school issued a shelter in place as a result of the altercation.

deer hunting

Man shot in group hunting accident in southern Minnesota

It happened Saturday afternoon in Olmsted County.

long term care elderly

400 MN National Guard members headed to long-term care facilities

The governor also hopes to provide $50 million in federal funding to help facilities hire more workers.

Smack Shack Facebook 2

Smack Shack's 4th Twin Cities location opens in December

It's taking over a former Fuddruckers — meaning lots of seating and a bigger kitchen.

Franconia Sculpture Park - Lorie Shaull - Flickr

5 outdoor spots to explore on Black Friday (instead of shopping)

There's something for everyone on this list of Twin Cities destinations.

holiday shopping

Money Gal Coaching: 4 tips to avoid holiday shopping debt

Kelly Blodgett used her passion behind becoming debt free to launch Money Gal Coaching.



Minneapolis follows Hennepin County in stopping battery collections

You can no longer recycle batteries with your garbage pickup.

The FBI wants you to switch your router off and on again

It's to safeguard yourself against Russian malware infecting household networks.

Hennepin County wants to hike property tax by 5.5 percent

It would cost the average homeowners an extra $75.

It's official: Dave Hutch is the next Hennepin County Sheriff

The election result was finally certified on Tuesday.

These Minnesota words feature in 100,000 'most hacked' passwords list

It follows a wide-ranging study by the U.K. intelligence agency, G.C.H.Q.