City of Dallas Provides Update on Ransomware

Ransomware message on computer screen | Image by Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

The City of Dallas recently suffered an alleged ransomware attack that caused City websites to shut down.

Dallas Chief Information Officer Bill Zielinski released an update after the attack occurred, explaining that proactive measures were taken to hopefully contain the ransomware.

“In the early morning hours of Wednesday, May 3, the city’s security monitoring tools notified our Security Operations Center of the presence of ransomware in the city’s IT environment,” said Zielinski to the Public Safety Committee, per Candy’s Dirt. “Our security tools took proactive measures to attempt to quarantine the ransomware and prevent its additional spread in the environment.”

He continued by saying that there is an ongoing investigation.

“This is an ongoing criminal investigation, and the City cannot comment on specific details related to the method or means of the attack, the mode of remediation, or potential communications with the party launching the attack,” Zielinski added. “Doing so risks impeding the investigation or exposing critical information that can potentially be exploited by the attacker.”

Immediately following the attack, 911 calls were not affected. However, the computer-assisted dispatch system did go down, and a backup radio system was used instead.

On Tuesday, the City released a statement: “911 calls are being entered into the Computer Assisted Dispatch (CAD) system. DPD has been dispatching automatically since Monday, and DFR is routing calls for automatic dispatch where available. Progress continues while vehicles aren’t out on calls.”

The City of Dallas also provided updates to confirm that “it does not appear any personal data of employees or residents has been leaked.”

The City also said that “Development Services continues to accept payments and issue permits and ability to receive electronic plan submittals has been restored.”

An update regarding Dallas Water Utilities was provided as well, as the systems continue to improve.

“Meter reading software is expected to return to service this week. While usage may be estimated this month, subsequent bills will ultimately be updated to reflect actual usage and amount owed (if any) once meter reads are again available,” the statement said.

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