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Ransomware attack hits 22 Texas towns

2019-08-21 11:48 by
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Computer systems in 22 small municipalities in Texas have been infiltrated by hackers demanding a ransom. A mayor of one of those cities said the attackers are asking for $2.5 million to unlock the files.

Officials have not disclosed which specific places are affected, but systems operated by the state of Texas weren't affected. The Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) say it is working with many organizations to bring the systems back online, including the state's Division of Emergency Management, military department, and Public Utility Commission, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation's cyber unit and Federal Emergency Management.

"At this time, the evidence gathered indicates the attacks came from one single threat actor. Investigations into the origin of this attack are ongoing; however, response and recovery are the priority at this time," DIR said. "It appears all entities that were actually or potentially impacted have been identified and notified."

This incident is just the latest of many recent ransomware attacks on municipalities and state agencies. In June, Riviera Beach, Florida, voted to pay criminals $600,000 in bitcoin to release the stranglehold the hackers gained on the city's network after a police department worker opened an email attachment infected with malware. Days later Lake City, Florida, paid a bitcoin ransom of $460,000 to hackers that had attacked that city's network.

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