September 16, 2019

September 16, 2019

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Twenty-three Texas Municipalities Crushed by Coordinated Ransomware Attack

We have definitely seen an uptick in the number of ransomware attacks against municipalities around the country. Thus far, the attacks have been against single cities, towns, and court systems, and recently against a Louisiana school system.

The pace and coordination of these attacks have magnified, as evidenced by the coordinated and simultaneous ransomware attacks this past week against 23 Texas cities. It is believed that the attack was instigated by one attacker. The attacks were deployed by this single individual like a well-trained army and crushed the cities’ ability to do business.

According to the Texas Department of Information Resources’ (DIR) press release, “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. Further resources will be deployed as they are requested.” It is being reported that the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI are assisting in the investigation and restoration efforts.

According to reports, services such as paying taxes and water bills, conducting title searches for closings on residential real estate transactions, and other services are unable to be performed since the systems supporting these services were shut down. Several of the cities have resumed normal operations as of this writing, and it is being reported that not all systems in all of the affected towns were impacted. Nonetheless, it is a precursor of more to come, and demonstrates how the impact of a coordinated and simultaneous attack can be devastating to day-to-day life.

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About this Author

Linn F. Freedman, Robinson Cole Law Firm, Cybersecurity and Litigation Law Attorney, Providence
Partner

Linn Freedman practices in data privacy and security law, cybersecurity, and complex litigation. She provides guidance on data privacy and cybersecurity compliance to a full range of public and private clients across all industries, such as construction, education, health care, insurance, manufacturing, real estate, utilities and critical infrastructure, marine, and charitable organizations. Linn is a member of the firm's Business Litigation Group and chairs its Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team. She is also a member of the Financial Services Cyber-Compliance Team (CyFi ...

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