Last Friday (August 16), a coordinated cyber-attack hit an incredible 22 separate Texas government entities simultaneously. The Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) released a statement last Friday with attack details.
Ransomware Attack Information
Due to the nature of the attack, federal authorities have taken over the investigation. Consequently, this limits information released publicly. The attack did not impact the State of Texas systems. Smaller local governments make up most of the entities attacked. Two Texas cities, Borger and Keene, acknowledged being among those affected.
DIR is heading up the response team. That team includes the FBI Cyber Division, Department of Homeland Security, and multiple Texas agencies. The response team contacted all 22 entities in an effort to bring them back online. 25% of those have already transitioned from assessment to remediation and recovery. Some have recovered completely and operating normally.
First Attack Of Its Kind
According to the DIR statement, evidence points to a single threat actor. In 2019, we’ve already seen multiple ransomware attacks against municipalities. However, each of those attacks happened at different times. For the first time, a single attacker has hit multiple government targets at the same time. Only the attack on Louisiana school districts last month comes close.
Don’t Mess With Texas
Overall, the damage could have been much worse. Fortunately, Texas previously instituted a response system across the state. In an event like this, local officials knew who to contact. By design, the response team reacted swiftly to the situation as planned.
Texas is still improving that plan. Recently, a bill was signed into state law requiring most municipal and state government employees to complete cybersecurity training by June 2020.
“Texas has spent a lot of time and money centralizing incident response, so security and IT people in those towns knew who to call immediately. If this had happened in another state without this infrastructure or to multiple towns in different states simultaneously the damage could have been a lot worse.”
Allan Liska, Recorded Future
Did You Know?
Pit Crew IT Services supports more than just organizations. We already support local government infrastructures across Texas as well. No matter the scale of your organization or municipality, we’re equipped to help. Ransomware attacks aren’t slowing down, but they don’t have to slow you down. We prepare all our clients for situations just like this. Downtime can be minimized and sometimes prevented completely. Just request a free consultation below to get started!