Dallas County Confirms Cybersecurity Attack

Computer spyware
Computer spyware code | mage by PabloLagarto/Shutterstock

Dallas County had a cybersecurity attack this month that impacted its government systems.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins released a statement on October 30 that confirmed the attack, stating the county took immediate steps to respond.

Furthermore, Jenkins noted that the county has hired an outside cybersecurity firm to conduct the ongoing investigation.

“Our foremost priority is the safety and security of our employees, the residents and the public we serve,” Jenkins said in the statement.

“We have put in place stringent security protocols to safeguard our systems and data and are collaborating closely with our external cybersecurity specialists and law enforcement to address this situation,” Jenkins added.

No details about the cybersecurity incident beyond the statement have been released.

“We value the trust and credibility we have established with our residents and partners and strive to maintain accuracy in the information we share,” Jenkins said. “The County will provide updates as soon as more information becomes available.”

An internet threat analyst told WFAA that a ransomware cybercrime organization known as “Play” reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack. It has been reported that the group has threatened to release private documents stolen from Dallas County on Friday.

Earlier this year, a ransomware attack on Oakland, California, was believed to have been carried out by Play. The attack reportedly caused such severe damage that it triggered a local state of emergency as it resulted in the online release of personal financial information.

The Dallas Express submitted open records requests to the City of Dallas this month but was notified of a “cybersecurity incident” in response. As a consequence of this incident, the City indicated there would be delays in responding to the requests, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

A City official told The Dallas Express that the Dallas County cybersecurity incident did not impact the City. The official did not immediately respond for comment on whether the cybersecurity concerns from the City and County are linked in any manner.

The City of Dallas experienced a ransomware attack in May that resulted in 800,000 stolen files, as reported by The Dallas Express. This incident is still under investigation.

Dallas County Senior Sgt. Christopher Dyer expressed concern about the possibility of hackers accessing his and other county employees’ financial records.

“At this point we know very little and that’s the part that concerns us the most,” Dye, who serves as president of the Dallas County Sheriff’s Association, told WFAA.

“We really want Dallas County to be more forthcoming with information, let us know if our personal information has been released, and if so, we’d like them to sponsor some kind of credit monitoring. Personally, I’m very concerned about it. As soon as this interview is over, I’m gonna go lock down my credit,” Dye concluded.

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