Texas city forced to resort to pen and paper following ransomware attack

Texas city forced to resort to pen and paper following ransomware attack
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This article originally appeared in SiliconAngle on January 14, 2019.

A city in Texas has been forced to return to the days of pen and paper after a ransomware attack crippled their computer network.

In the latest of many similar attacks, the unknown form of ransomware shut down computers run by the City of Del Rio late last week. The city’s Management Information Services Department disconnected the network from the internet and prohibited all employees from using computers until such time the ransomware infection could be dealt with.

In addition to attempting to remediate their infected network, the city also contacted by U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation in regards to the attack. The FBI then referred the city to the Secret Service.

“The City is diligently working on finding the best solution to resolve this situation and restore the system,” Del Rio said in a media release Jan. 10. “We ask the public to be patient with us as we may be slower in processing requests at this time.”

Mike Bittner, digital security and operations manager at The Media Trust, told SiliconANGLE that the growing number of exploit kits and malware is prompting hackers to attack organizations with a rich trove of consumer data.

“Government organizations, in particular, city governments, are prime targets,” Bittner said. “They not only process a lot of citizen and business data but are also less secure as tighter budgets severely limit what IT updates they can carry out.”

Bittner said hackers no doubt are targeting many of the 89,000 local governments across the country. “It is just a matter of time before many of these governments realize they’ve been hacked,” he added.