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JEA.com crippled by cyber attack

7:18 PM, Feb 19, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Unable to pay their bills online Tuesday morning, JEA customers were standing in line at its payment centers.

"I tried two days ago and was not successful in getting anything done online," said Lacrecia Anderson. 

Anderson normally pays her bill online and was in the dark as to why the website was not working.

"My payment was due I was kind of scared that my lights were going to cut off," she said. 

To avoid an interruption in her service, she made it to the payment center as quickly as possible, and she was not alone.

"Coming into the branch and standing in line is an inconvenience," said Anderson, "when I am used to doing it online or paying it over the phone."

On Sunday, JEA's cyber network was hit by a 'denial of service' attack.

"Soon as it started we were notified and we've been working on it since," said JEA's Gerri Boyce. 

The attack inundated the system with data bringing it to a crippling halt, affecting internet users.

"We have informed the FBI," she said, "They're on board with us."

Boyce said the JEA's intranet, or in house system is working. The problem is external.

About 37 percent or 155,000 customers use JEA.com to pay their utility bill.

Until the system is restored, JEA has decided to suspend all cutoffs.

Customers are being told they can pay their bills at Winn-Dixie Stores, Tax Collector's office or JEA's downtown payment center.

It is the first time the utility has faced a denial of service attack, which can become the front door to the system being hacked.

JEA says for now, customers' information is still safe.

"We are making sure that none of our customers information is jeopardized or compromised," said Boyce.

First Coast News

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