20 Texas Jurisdictions Hit by Coordinated Ransomware Attack, State Says

State officials say they are responding to a coordinated ransomware attack that has affected at least 20 government agencies throughout Texas.The state's Department of Information Resources is leading the response, assisted by the Division of Emergency Management, the department said in a press release posted Friday.With assistance from the Texas Military Department and Texas A&M's Cyberresponse and Security Operations Center, the information resources department is deploying resources to those jurisdictions most seriously impacted, though the state did not specify where they are."Further resources will be deployed as requested," the department said.According to Newsweek, hackers have in recent years adopted ransomware attacks as a preferred extortion method, especially among municipal entities. By planting malicious code inside agencies' information systems, digital intruders are able to exploit relatively unsophisticated or out-of-date cyber defenses and inhibit computer access, the magazine said. Affected users are then asked to pay ransom -- almost always in mostly untraceable Bitcoin -- to regain control of their systems. However, whether Texas officials had been asked to do so was unknown.In 2016, global ransomware attempts rocketed to 638 million from just 4 million the year before, according to SonicWall, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based network security firm."Ransomware really wasn't an issue two years ago," SonicWall CEO Bill Conner said in a 2017 News story. "It's a huge one now. It's the wild, wild west of the cyber arms race."  Continue reading...

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