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What we know: Greenville Water payment system outage caused by international cyberattack

Greenville News logo Greenville News 2/4/2020 Genna Contino, The Greenville News
a sign in front of a brick building: The sign outside Greenville Water is located on the corner of West Washington Street and West Broad Street Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. © Sabrina Schaeffer/Staff The sign outside Greenville Water is located on the corner of West Washington Street and West Broad Street Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020.

Greenville Water confirmed Friday that a payment system outage was caused by an international cyberattack.

Here's what we know so far:

  • The system outage began Jan. 21 around 8 a.m.
  • As of Jan. 27, customers can once again make online payments
  • As of Jan. 28, customers can make payments over the phone
  • Greenville Water is till working with Dell and Microsoft to restore the utility's email system, according to CEO David Bereskin
  • Utility spokesperson Emerald Clark said about 500,000 accounts were affected. She said automatic draft payments were not affected
  • No one was fined or had their water shut off for late payments, Clark said
  • Bereskin is "fairly certain" the utility's data has not been compromised
  • Greenville Water does not store customer credit card information, Bereskin said
  • Water treated and maintained at the facility is not affected, Clark said
  • The utility is working with local IT company Acumen; Itron, a company that works with utility around the world; and Metron, a scientific consulting company, Bereskin said at Greenville Water's Feb. 4 public commissioner meeting
  • The cyberattack is being investigated and experts "have taken immediate and appropriate action to reinforce existing security measures and to mitigate the potential impact, as well as determining its origin," according to a media release sent out Friday afternoon
  • Greenville Water has shared details with other government agencies about the attack
  • Customers can still make payments at the Greenville Water office at 407 W. Broad St. or at participating CheckFreePay locations, according to Greenville Water's website
  • Customers can also call the utility at 864-241-6000 in the case of a leak or emergency

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Initial report: Greenville Water victim of international cyberattack, online payments still down

This is not the first time an agency in the state of South Carolina has been targeted. In 2012, a breach caused by phishing emails to the state Department of Revenue exposed data belonging to more than 4 million taxpayers and businesses.

Contact Genna at gcontino@gannett.com or on Twitter @GennaContino.

This article originally appeared on The Greenville News: What we know: Greenville Water payment system outage caused by international cyberattack

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