The United States continues to provide evidence of the surge of ransomware attacks, with the U.S. state of Texas being targetted last Friday. It didn't name the affected cities or provide details about the attacker's demands. If the file is opened by an unsuspecting employee, the ransomware can infect the employee's computer and will often spread throughout an enterprise's network, locking down all computers and servers and sending systems offline for an extended time period.
Officials say some of the 22 Texas cities that were targeted by a coordinated ransomware attack have recovered and are operating normally.
Local governments in numerous Texas towns have been hit by coordinated ransomware attacks over the past few days.
The Texas state government declined to name what strain of ransomware it is or to name the victims, save to say that "the majority of these entities were smaller local governments". "It appears all entities that were actually or potentially impacted have been identified and notified".
"At this time, the evidence gathered indicates the attacks came from one single threat actor", DIR officials said on Saturday. The county refused to pay the ransom and instead plans to spend at least $253,000 to rebuild databases lost in the attack. An additional $5 million of ransomware expenses are expected to be unreported, the DIR said. The Texas Military Department, the Texas A&M University System's Cyberresponse and Security Operations Center, and more state and federal agencies are also contributing resources to the various jurisdictions. Several cities in Florida also were affected and were forced to pay thousands of hundreds of dollars.
Local government bodies are coming under increasing attack in the USA, with cyber-criminals betting correctly that poor security practices and under-funding have left them particularly exposed to ransomware.
Authorities are examining a new ransomware attack in Texas that has taken almost two dozen government agencies offline - the latest in a string of digital hijackings against municipalities nationwide in recent months. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security are assisting with the response.
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