Local Appraisal District Comments on Ransomware Attack

Tarrant Appraisal District
Tarrant Appraisal District | Image by NBC 5 DFW

Although Tarrant Appraisal District board members were tight-lipped during a public emergency meeting on Monday about a recent ransomware attack on its database, they have since provided a public update following three days of closed-door meetings.

The Tarrant Appraisal District’s board said on Wednesday that fewer than 300 people were impacted by the breach of sensitive data that occurred in March. The board said the district will notify the persons affected by the ransomware attack and provide them with information and assistance regarding the issue. In addition, the district has posted a list of general guidelines on its website for any residents concerned about the security of their personal information.

Chief Appraiser Joe Don Bobbitt said that the district should be back to normal operation by next week and is currently working on restoring its systems for employees, reported CBS News Texas.

During a closed-door meeting on Wednesday, board members approved the purchase of Office 365 and SentinelOne software for improved security. The board also approved an agreement to contract network support, security, and review services with Improving Enterprises for $235,000.

“The response measures implemented today have been critical in securing the network and beginning the process of recovering, but I fear that there are significant investments needed in IT,” said board member Alan Blaylock, per Fort Worth Report.

The Tarrant Appraisal District’s board is working with the FBI and the Texas Department of Information Resources to investigate the ransomware attack.

The hacker group Medusa claimed responsibility for the attack, demanding $700,000 to prevent the release of sensitive information. The attack also disrupted the district’s network system, including its email platform, website, and phone lines. The district refused to pay the ransom, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, the City of Dallas experienced a ransomware attack in May of last year. The attack resulted in the theft of 1.2 terabytes of data and a brief disruption to City services.

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