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‘I get why people are frustrated’: KCMO Councilman speaks about city’s computer outage

Kansas City, Missouri, continues work to get all computer systems online as normal
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Posted at 7:09 PM, May 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-14 20:09:04-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Councilman Wes Rogers did not say what caused an outage within Kansas City, Missouri’s, computer system.

The outage was first reported May 5.

It impacted functions on the city’s website and forced the city to temporarily close Muncipal Court.

Most systems are back online.

The Water Department cannot accept online payments. Some online permitting and inspection procedures also remain offline.

“The main thing people are worried about is their water bills,” Rogers said of calls he’s received from constituents. “They want to make sure they pay their water so it doesn’t get shut off.”

City officials said customers would not have their service shut off or charge late fees to customers while the online payment system is down.

“The city has really good IT people and they’re taking their time to make sure everything is under control and I do trust the process,” Rogers said.

According to city documents, the city spent $12.6 million on information technology in fiscal year 2023-2024. It proposed increasing the IT budget by about $2 million for the next fiscal year.

Budget documents showed 99% of city employees completed cybersecurity compliance training last year. But an audit from this year indicated auditors made recommendations on how the city could improve its cyber incident response plan. Details of the audit are closed for security reasons.

“A serious hack could destroy all sorts of systems,” Rogers said hypothetically.

No one has formally confirmed an attack or hack on the city’s system.

“We do have good cybersecurity and are being cautious and careful and making sure everything stays safe," Rogers said. "From all indications, that’s what’s happening.”

A spokesperson for Mayor Quinton Lucas said the mayor plans to address the computer issue Wednesday.

The FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) both confirmed they're aware of the outage, but did not comment on how or if they're involved in resolving the problem.