Another day, another devastating ransomware attack; this time, computers at The City Hall of Del Rio, Texas have suffered a massive ransomware attack forcing authorities to completely shut down the targeted network.
The attack took place on Thursday, January 10th after which the City’s Management Information Services (MIS) Department went on to isolate the malware by turning off the Internet connection for all city departments. This not only prevented employees from logging into the system but also forced them to go manual by using pen and paper.
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The FBI was also informed about the ransomware attack and the Secret Service is now investigating.
Although it is unclear what type of ransomware was used to target the City Hall, according to a report, PR manager for Del Rio’s City Hal Victoria Vargas said that 30 to 45 computers were turned off after their screens began displaying a ransom note along with a phone number explaining how the ransom payment should be paid.
In a typical ransomware attack, cybercriminals demand ransom in cryptocurrency preferably in Bitcoin and Monero. However, putting the phone number for criminal activity is something new.
“The City is diligently working on finding the best solution to resolve this situation and restore the system. We ask the public to be patient with us as we may be slower in processing requests at this time,” said a press release.
The city is yet to determine whether personal information of customers and employees was compromised.
This is not the first time when a ransomware attack has forced authorities to go old school. In August last year, two municipalities in Alaska became victims of a sophisticated ransomware attack after which their employees had to let go of their computers and switch to performing their day-to-day tasks using typewriters. Moreover, employees were left with no other choice but to use hand receipts.
See: Hackers disrupt Bristol Airport flight info screens after ransomware attack
In July 2013, the Federal Protective Service in Russia bought 20 typewriters to prevent sensitive information from leaking via electronic means. The precautionary measure was taken after the Snowden’s revelation of the NSA espionage scheme.
If you run an IT administrator or own an online business remember to keep a backup of your data and follow this guide to protect yourself from increasing ransomware attacks.