23 Texas towns hit in coordinated ransomware attack

The Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) has confirmed late Friday that 23 towns across Texas were victims of a coordinated ransomware attack.

Ransomware is the type of malware that disables a victim’s computer files until a ransom is paid to unlock your computer to recover files. Ransomware is often delivered via phishing emails. Such attacks can cause significant damage to equipment and cause costly delays to city services.

According to the Texas DIR, more than 20 Texas entities reported ransomware attacks on the morning of August 16, 2019. By late Friday, 23 of the entities were impacted, most of them were smaller local governments.

After further investigation, the evidence pointed to a single threat actor.

In addition, multiple federal, state and Texas university resources are working together to respond to the incident.

Just last month Louisiana declared state of emergency after ransomware attack that impacted three school districts in late July. Similarly, RobbinHood ransomware held Baltimore City’s data hostage and knocked out city services in early May of this year.

The ransomware attacks also serves as another reminder for organizations and users to always be aware of potential malware attacks. For example, users should never open up suspicious links/files and hover over links to verify emails are going to the anticipated site.

Also, users should check the name with the sender’s email and be cautious of malicious actors who try to impersonate internal staff.