PALM COAST, Fla – The Flagler County Sheriff's Office warned people that a Google search for the agency may lead users to "dangerous and reprehensible websites," but that's no longer the case.
The Sheriff's Office said its website had not been hacked and that it appeared to be a Google issue. The Sheriff's Office, however, issued an update late Sunday.
"A Google search will no longer redirect to malicious or reprehensible websites. In addition to indexing issues with Google, the County Innovation Technology (IT) staff did discover malicious software on old and out-of-use agency web pages in the server used to host the website. Previously, working with the best information we had at the time from the County IT, we stated that it was just a Google issue. However, we have since learned it was not just a Google issue but also a system and software failure that started after the current website was built in 2013. The active pages of the Sheriff’s Office website were not hacked, however, inactive pages were found to have programming code that contributed to the indexing problems with Google searches. We have been assured by County IT Director Shupe that Google has removed the requested links to the pages and the former inactive pages have been removed from the webserver.
"Since 2013, the current website was under the control of the former Sheriff’s administration and not the County IT staff. As a result, County IT did not support or update the website server being used. Upon taking office in January, Sheriff Staly directed that a totally new agency website be developed with support and design from the County IT Department. In the interim period, and to save taxpayer money, only minor changes were made to the existing website design, which is still a carryover from the former Sheriff's administration. The website software used indicated it was current with updates but while investigating the cause of the malicious re-directs it was discovered that while the software showed a current date it was actually still operating under an older software version and had not properly updated since 2014. This created a vulnerability in the website server for malicious malware. The software has now been properly updated by County IT closing the loopholes. To reach the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office website directly, visit: www.flaglersheriff.com."