Ransomware attack hits local governments in Texas

Ruben Fields
August 22, 2019

The Texas Department of Information Resources said it "is leading the response to a coordinated ransomware attack" on more than 20 Texas entities.

Sprehe said he was "not aware" of any of the cities paying a ransom.

Twenty-three local Texas governments have been infected with ransomware last week in what Texas officials have described as a coordinated attack.

ZDNet has learned from a local source that the ransomware that infected the networks of the 23 local Texas governments encrypts files and then adds the.JSE extension at the end.

"Currently, DIR, the Texas Military Department, and the Texas A&M University System's Cyberresponse and Security Operations Center teams are deploying resources to the most critically impacted jurisdictions", DIR said in a statement.

The US has suffered a number of notable ransomware attacks in recent months, with certain cities being hit particularly hard.

"At this time, the evidence gathered indicates the attacks came from one single threat actor", the TDI said.

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Responders are actively working with affected towns to bring their systems back online, according to the DIR.

Investigators say hackers activated the attack Friday, affecting 23 government agencies. It didn't name the affected cities or provide details about the attacker's demands.

The DIR declined to comment beyond the press release.

The Panhandle city of Borger and Dallas suburb of Keene said on their Facebook pages that they were among the victims.

Ransomware often spreads through emails containing malicious links or attachments or by visiting a compromised website.

Other cities that have been hit include Baltimore, where officials refused a demand for about $76,000 in bitcoin to restore access to its computer network. Lake City and Riviera Beach paid out over one million dollars total to the attackers to release the data stored in the city systems.

Authorities say that they are not aware whether the Texas Municipalities have chose to plan something or give in and pay the ransom amount demanded by the culprit.

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