City Website Back After Alleged Ransomware Attack

Dallas Police Department | Image by Dorti/Shutterstock

The Dallas Police Department’s (DPD) website is back online as the City continues to recover from the alleged ransomware attack it suffered last Wednesday.

An update on the City’s efforts to bring its computer systems back online was delivered during a City Council Public Safety Committee meeting on Monday.

Bill Zielinski, chief information officer for the City, said that the information he could share with the public was limited. He claimed he could not disclose details that could undermine the ongoing criminal investigation into the alleged ransomware attack.

The attack was launched by a group called “Royal,” as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

Zielinski noted that DPD’s website and other public-facing City service pages are back online.

He said staff members are continuing to restore various online services but can only do so when it is deemed “safe.”

“Once an environment has been infected, there really is no way to guarantee the ransomware is gone unless devices and applications have been completely wiped or wholly replaced,” Zielinski said.

Zielinski explained that completely “replacing the original servers” is “absolutely necessary before reattaching” devices to the City’s network.

According to Zielinski, the time it will take to fully restore all services “is dependent upon what we find as we scour our environment, review our devices and applications, and complete that process of re-imaging or replacing them, as the City has a very large and complex IT department.”

Zielinski added that staff services relating to public safety are a top priority.

“We want to ensure that the business of the City can return to its normal operations as quickly as possible,” Zielinski said.

He also stated that there had been no indication of any personal information being leaked, but if that changed, the City would reach out to the individual directly.

As more services come back online, updates will be provided at DallasCityNews.net.

Council Member Cara Mendelsohn said the incident “underscores the need for our City to address the longstanding underinvestment in IT.”

Her colleague, Council Member Gay Donnell Willis, suggested adding information technology programs to the 2024 Dallas Bond Referendum.

The committee then entered a closed executive session with IT staff in which more sensitive information regarding the alleged ransomware attack was discussed.

In a news release sent to The Dallas Express, the City said it is “exploring all options to remediate this incident” but could not comment on whether officials plan on paying the ransom.

Furthermore, the City said it could not reveal details regarding how the breach was initiated or how many devices were affected.

More information from the City of Dallas can be found here.

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