Lake County officials and the providers of their county website started making repairs Wednesday to a malicious software problem that cropped up on the county website during the New Year's holiday. According to Roberta Janke, Lake County auditor, the website, www.lakecountysd.com, was closed for any business until its providers could repair the "malware" problem.
Janke reported that the site's webmaster at Grapevines, a Madison business, and the site's Internet host at Sioux Valley Energy were working to make the website operational again. She had also received information that some Madison businesses were affected by the malware problem.
Janke said the website problem was discovered on Monday, and that information coincides with an advisory provided by Google against using the county's website.
In using Google's search engine to find lakecountysd.com and clicking on the homepage listing, users were instead warned by Google that the website was currently listed as suspicious.
Google had set up a Safe Browsing advisory for the county website that warned, "Part of this site was listed for suspicious activity 2 time(s) over the last 90 days."
Specifically, Google had tested three pages on the county website during the last 90 days in which the visits to three pages resulted with the download and installation of malicious software. Google had most recently visited lakecountysd.com on Monday, and suspicious content was found during Monday's visit.
The person using the malicious software was credited by Google in obtaining three "exploits" to lakecountysd.com. Goggle officials added that the malware was hosted on four Internet domains.
The same advisory told Internet users that the Lake County website had apparently not functioned as an intermediary for infecting any other websites.
Malware infections are typically caused by a third party deliberately adding malicious software code to a legitimate website.