PLAINFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — The town hall and police department in Plainfield are currently under a cyberattack and held hostage by hackers.

The first selectman declined to go on camera, but he told News 8 that officials believe it started around March 19. The hackers encrypted their files and shut down their computers/ They also shut down the police department’s phone lines, which are now back up and running, but they still can’t process inmates or access records.

Town officials are now working with the FBI and the state to resolve this situation. The hackers demanded $199,000 in bitcoin to restore the computer systems, but they have not been paid.

In the meantime, it’s meant a lot more work for folks around here. The electric typewriter in the town clerk’s vault is still used for some things, but these days, it is being used a lot more along with pens and pads of paper.

“It’s been difficult, but we’re finding a lot of workarounds and learning as we go, so we’re making it work,” Plainfield Town Clerk Dianne Talbot said. “A lot of handwriting, a lot more exercise running around to offices.”

“This has happened in other Connecticut towns,” said Art House, an adjunct professor who teaches national and cyber security at UConn.

He said attacks like this have been happening more over the years and opening an attachment on a phishing email sent by hackers can compromise an entire system.

“Once they get into your email, they can get into the administrative side and then proceed to shut things down and demand money,” House said.

Cyber experts like House say you can prepare for these types of attacks. A chief information security officer can look for cyber weak spots and install programs for protection. Some towns and companies may feel hiring one may be too expensive for them to do alone.

“My recommendation has always been then share one,” House said.

The first selectman said what they didn’t do before, they will do now.