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 Ransomware Attack Hits 22 Texas Towns- August 16, 2019

Texas officials have declined to say which towns were affected by the coordinated cyber-attack. But experts agree this could be a signal more such attacks in the future.

Computer systems in 22 small Texas towns have been hacked, seized and held for ransom in a widespread, coordinated cyber-attack that has sent state emergency-management officials scrambling and prompted a federal investigation, the authorities said.

The Texas Department of Information Resources reported on Monday, August 19th, that they were frantically trying to bring systems back online after the “ransomware attack.” Such attacks are a growing problem for city, county and state governments, court systems and school districts nationwide.

The ransomware virus appeared to affect certain agencies in the 22 towns, not entire government computer systems. Officials said that there were common threads among the 22 entities and that the attacks appeared not to be random, but could not say more, because of the start of a federal investigation.

Officials are remaining tight lipped about which towns were involved and if any of the towns had to pay the ransom.

The attack began on Friday morning. Later that day, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the second-highest level of alert in the state’s emergency-response system, classifying the attack as a Level 2 Escalated Response, meaning that the scope of the incident had reached beyond what local experts can manage. So they had to involve a team of high level cyber-security experts to assess damage and bring those entities that were affected back online.

Experts are saying that this is one of the largest coordinated attack in terms of the number of targets affected. This could be really bad news for other entities because these types of attacks are often imitated by copy cat hackers.

For more information and the full story:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/20/us/texas-ransomware.html