FLORENCE, Ariz. - A public records request has led to the discovery of a malicious ransomware virus attached to files within the Pinal County Attorney’s Office case management database, according to the attorney's office.

In a release sent to the media, officials announced that PCAO employees working on a records request became aware of the infected files last week and immediately notified Pinal County's main IT department.

"This virus, known as CryptoLocker, essentially infects and encrypts files until the user pays a ransom to unlock them," the release states. "Thus, employees cannot access any infected files. Due to the virus, PCAO’s ability to respond to some public records requests has been slowed until the issue can be resolved and the county confirms security of PCAO’s computers."

“The antivirus software utilized by the County was completely useless in protecting our data stored on County servers. Now, our office’s IT department must work to repair the damage to our data files. I am frustrated by the lack of communication from the County. If we knew that the software was inadequate, the Pinal County Attorney’s Office could have taken action to prevent this from happening to our case files. Other County departments need to be aware of this issue and take necessary precautions,” said Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles.

According to the release, it is not known how many files have been infected or how the County network became infected with the virus. However, "PCAO is working diligently to restore all known, infected case files and determine a solution to prevent this from happening again."