Ransomware attack hits more than 20 Texas local governments | AP business

23 state agencies across Texas succumb to a ‘coordinated ransomware attack

State and federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, are working with the affected Texas cities.

The department declined to name the specific cities that were attacked, but said the majority were smaller local governments. It didn't name the affected cities or provide details about the attacker's demands.

Adams said he didn't know what the attacker demanded and that he couldn't provide much detail because of the ongoing investigation.

Texas has now joined several other states that have been targeted by recent ransomware attacks - including Maryland, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana and Kentucky - and Europe. Neither the systems nor the networks of the state of Texas itself were impacted by the ransomware, the DIR said.

The US has suffered a number of notable ransomware attacks in recent months, with certain cities being hit particularly hard. An additional $5 million of ransomware expenses are expected to be unreported, the DIR said.

Trying to prevent similar attacks is "a continual cat-and-mouse game" for governments of all sizes, Sprehe said. The incident reportedly made it impossible for community members to pay city bills online.

Police, fire and 911 services were not affected and city officials don't believe any credit card or personal information was compromised.

Speaking with The New York Times, cybersecurity firm Recorded Future analyst Allan Liska said the August 2019 Texas ransomware attack was the largest so far, and possibly the first time he's seen a coordinated attack of this nature.

Officials in at least two cities - Borger and Keene - have said they were among those targeted.

According to some common research surveys, there is a common trait that the ransomware follows that includes sending malicious or virus-infected links. In June, Lake City, Florida, officials paid hackers $460,000 to restore email and other servers.

In May, about 10,000 computers belonging to Baltimore's city government were infected with RobbinHood ransomware, in an attack that is expected to cost the city millions of dollars.

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