Scope of attack still unclear
Three weeks after Dallas was hit with a ransomware attack, city officials still haven’t publicly explained the full scope of the breach or the city’s progress toward restoration.
The ransomware attack hit May 3 and though some functions, like filing a complaint to 311 through the city’s app or residents paying their water bill online, have returned, other functions are still impacted.
The city libraries are still not able to process returned books, the police department isn’t able to access some data, and the municipal court is unable to hold hearings or process payments for citations.
“Progress is continuing with focus on public safety and public-facing services, and as departments’ service is restored it will be shared via city channels,” city spokeswoman Jenna Carpenter told The Dallas Morning News on Wednesday.
The impacts have also included City Council meetings where the government body has been unable to use the electronic voting system when deciding on agenda items. The City Council met in closed session Wednesday for at least the fourth time since the May 3 cyberattack with information technology officials to discuss the city’s network security and other issues related to the incident.
The city in mid May said it could take several more weeks or months to fully restore the system from the ransomware attack, which includes reviewing and cleaning servers and devices to make sure they are safe to use. Ransomware is often used to extort money from organizations by threatening to block access to files or release confidential information unless money is paid.
City officials have declined to say if the city has been issued any ransom or to release specific details related to the attack, citing an ongoing criminal investigation involving the FBI.
The city said several servers were compromised with ransomware early May 3 and that it intentionally took others offline to prevent the bad software from spreading. During a May 8 city council committee meeting, Chief Information Officer Bill Zielinski said the city put in preventative measures that helped limit the effect of the ransomware attack, but city officials haven’t elaborated on what those were.
Royal, the hacker…