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Weber County emissions testing back up and running after software hack

By Mitch Shaw Standard-Examiner - | Apr 8, 2021

OGDEN — Emissions inspections in Weber County are back up and running after a software hack shut down the testing system for several days, prohibiting many area residents from registering their vehicles.

More than a week ago, Applus Technologies Inc. detected and stopped a malware attack that temporarily interrupted vehicle inspections in eight different states, including here in Utah. The Wisconsin-based company provides air quality emissions testing services to governmental agencies all over the United States, including Weber and Salt Lake counties. According to the company’s website, in the U.S. alone, Applus manages over 6.5 million vehicle tests annually and oversees more than 1,800 inspection stations.

In Weber County, the Applus program supports emissions testing for more than 300,000 vehicles annually with tests performed in 110 inspection stations, according to the website.

“Unfortunately, incidents such as this are fairly common and no one is immune,” Applus CEO Darrin Greene said in a press release. “We apologize for any inconvenience this incident may cause.”

On Thursday afternoon, Michela Harris, director of environmental health at the Weber-Morgan Health Department, said the issue had been resolved and emissions testing is now functioning again in Weber County. The health department manages emissions testing in Weber County. Harris said most of the damage done by the hack was relegated to the East Coast and the company shut down its entire system, nationwide, as a precautionary measure. Because of this, Harris said it doesn’t appear that the data of any Utahns was compromised.

Applus is still investigating the source of the hack.

Tammy Kikuchi, spokesperson for the Utah State Tax Commission, the body that oversees the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles, said the state’s vehicle registration system was not impacted by the incidents. Kikuchi said Utahns who needed an emission test but couldn’t get one due to the hack were able to obtain a temporary permit to operate their vehicle until emission tests could be completed and the registration finalized.

Aside from the temporary permits, it appears there is little recourse for those impacted by the situation.

Pleasant View resident Toby Mileski tried to register his vehicle Wednesday but was unable to get his necessary emissions test completed. Mileski said he went to the DMV and was issued temporary registration fee, which cost him $6. Admittedly, Mileski says, the fee wasn’t very much money, but he felt someone else should be on the hook for it.

“I don’t know why the health department couldn’t have offered some kind of waiver, or figured something out,” Mileski said.

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