Texas Municipalities Find Themselves Victim To Ransom Scheme Perpetrated By An Anonymous Cybercriminal

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Cybercriminals often target individuals and businesses alike in their exploitative, illicit efforts. Through various attacks, cybercriminals can obtain people’s and businesses’ credit card or bank account information, force their web pages offline to disrupt their operations, and change administrative keys and leave system networks’ rightful owners locked out until a ransom is paid, as well as engage in countless other similarly-wrong activities.

They don’t often large government agencies because governments often don’t have much in the way of value in the eyes of cybercriminals. However, various governments across the planet have been targeted by cybercriminals before for various reasons.

The most recent governments – technically, not just a few governments, but 23 governments – to have been struck by a serious cyberattack are those at the local level all throughout the state of Texas.

According to a recent report from the Texas DIR, or the Texas Department of Information Resources, the cyberattack is currently still taking place as of Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 20, 2019.

Each of the 23 Texas town governments’ computer networks have been taken control of by an unknown cybercriminal. The perpetrator quickly stole all of the affected networks’ information and is still holding the data hostage. The wide-scale cyberattack took off on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, though it’s still ongoing at this point in time.

Earlier today, on Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019, the Federal Bureau of Investigation made clear that it had joined up with Texas state cybersecurity professionals to monitor the breach in real time.

According to the Texas Department of Information Resources, it appears thus far as if only one perpetrator is responsible for carrying out the attacks.

Fortunately, each of the 23 towns do, in fact, have a way out of paying the ransom that the cybercriminal is currently demanding. They can simply reboot their systems and backup their computers’ hard drives with backups. However, it’s not clear right now if any backups exist for any of the 23 municipal governments’ computer systems. Experts also aren’t able to tell if any of the 23 municipalities had implemented sufficient security measures to keep an attack such as this one from taking place.

The state of Texas’ computer systems were not affected by the aforementioned cybersecurity problems.

So far, the public does not know about the identities of all 23 of the municipal governments that have been targeted by the cybersecurity threat, though two cities have come forward and identified themselves as victims – Borger and Keene, which have populations of 13,250 and 6,100 people, respectively.

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