Last week an online attack was waged against 23 smaller, local Texas governments in what Texas officials are calling a coordinated ransomware attack.
The attack first began when the local governments noted that they had issues accessing online data. This was reported to the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR).
The type of ransomware has not been revealed, and DIR has also not revealed whether any of the governments had chosen to pay the ransom, according to Ars Technica.
Ransomware is becoming so common that there's an online map where people can discover what kind of ransomware they're most at risk for based on where they live.
As for the 23 Texas governments dealing with their ransomware attack, the DIR says that it’s actively working with these entities to bring their systems back online, and it’s also coordinating recovery efforts with more than 10 other Texas and US government agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and FEMA.
The DIR said the evidence indicates the attacks came from one single threat actor.
This also isn't the first time a government agency has been under attack from widespread ransomware. In July 2019, just one month before the Texas attack, Louisiana's governor declared a state of emergency after ransomware locked down phones and data in different school districts.
Although ransomware can affect anyone, it's possible to prevent it from occurring. Updating technology regularly and running security scans will create a strong line of defense against ransomware. Businesses can educate and train employees on how to avoid clicking malware links or sharing private information that could let ransomware software in.
Cyber insurance is also a strategy many large businesses and corporations use to cover clients and potential legal fees that may occur in the event of a ransomware attack.