James Wroten called the clerk of court in Vernon Parish, Louisiana last November with an urgent message.
The timing wasn’t convenient. The clerk, Jeffrey Skidmore, was relaxing on his back porch and hoping to soak in some final moments of quiet before state and local elections. Skidmore let the call go to voicemail.
But Wroten, whose company manages IT services for small companies and local governments, persisted until Skidmore finally picked up.
“He told me we’d been infected by ransomware and to ask all 14 of my employees not to go into the office or try to access any of...