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Ransomware attack has hit 20 government agencies in Texas

By Bubbajim · 17 replies
Aug 18, 2019
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  1. Another day, another ransomware attack. This year has seen some high-profile hits, with Florida paying out hundreds of thousands of dollars, and Baltimore, Maryland, also losing millions following their own troubles.

    This week the state of Texas has joined the list of targets. According to Texas’s Department of Information Resources (DIR), more than 20 local government entities have been impacted by a ‘coordinated ransomware attack.’ DIR states that “the Texas Military Department, and the Texas A&M University System’s Cyberresponse and Security Operations Center teams are deploying resources to the most critically impacted jurisdictions.”

    No disclosure has beeen made regarding how much of a payment is being requested, though given recent attacks on other states the amount is likely to be eye-watering. Also absent is any information on which ‘local government entities’ have been affected.

    While at this point any theory about how the ransomware was delivered is simple speculation, it seems likely to be a phishing attack. Millions of people still fall prey to dodgy links and shifty emails, making life easy for criminals who send massive numbers of emails but often only need one person to make a mistake.

    It also seems like the public sector and local government agencies are disproportionately affected by such attacks. One possible explanation is that tight budgets and costly upgrade procedures prevent many organizations from updating older software, thus becoming unsecured by nature. But if ransomware attacks continue to become commonplace – and evidence suggests they will – states will have to start paying proper attention to cybersecurity. Upgrades cost money, but ransomware attacks cost money, time and reputation.

    It remains to be seen how Texas will respond to this crisis. Texan officials may be hoping for federal agencies like the NSA to help restore order – seeing as the NSA’s own EternalBlue code is allegedly the basis for many modern versions of ransomware.

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. Nero7

    Nero7 TS Evangelist Posts: 498   +236

    A good day today to make an offline external backup of your precious things.
    Also, never ever drop your HDD.
     
    Clynt, Andromadus and cliffordcooley like this.
  3. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,108   +1,592

    It's unlikely that a home user would be targeted, but the fundamentals of this exploit have a straight forward solution:
    1. keep a current copy of your Documents\
    2. if hit with ransomware, then wipe the HD
    3. do a fresh install
    4. and apply the backup of your Documents\
    Commercially, ANY choice will take a painful amount to time to restore all those workstations.
     
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  4. Nero7

    Nero7 TS Evangelist Posts: 498   +236

    Ever since that huge data leak on emails and their passwords some months ago, even some of my adresses have received threats in the spam filter from vermin claiming that they have my password and know where I was and what I did. Someone also tried to buy something on the windows store but failed.

    I was lucky my security was tight it seems and after I changed all my passwords slightly I haven't gotten anymore.

    Its everyone. Even in entire countries all the hospitals had all their data locked away.
     
  5. Bullwinkle M

    Bullwinkle M TS Booster Posts: 152   +78

    "One possible explanation is that tight budgets and costly upgrade procedures prevent many organizations from updating older software, thus becoming unsecured by nature."
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    An even BETTER explanation for why "I" am NOT getting ransomware of any type is that I use a lot of OLDER software that does NOT run to the Internet for an update every 5 minutes, nor do I allow Java scripts, Flash, Net Framework, or Adobe's garbage from connecting and run my O.S. in Read Only mode using Driveshield (among other things)

    I'm still running Windows XP-SP2 "ONLINE" without ANY Microsoft security updates and have never had a problem with ANY ransomware / rootkits or any other malware that can wreck a Windows 10 machine

    A malware platform like Windows 10 cannot be secured!

    That is a FACT!

    Microsoft's Backdoors and dozens of components all connecting to the Internet is the problem / not the solution

    Allowing 3rd party's to do the same (by default) is another problem

    Preventing end users from controlling their own security and stopping this madness might be the biggest problem

    Blackmail and extortion in the licensing (non)agreement is another

    You are now on an endless treadmill to nowhere

    Enjoy the ride Suckers!
     
  6. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 886   +382

    Your proud of running outdated software? I have been running modern windows since Vista no malware infections ever and never had a ransomware attack. You don't need a super custom version of Windows XP and some software from 2003 to avoid ransomware attacks, you just need a functioning brain.
     
    Hexic, Clynt and PEnnn like this.
  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,580   +5,139

    It doesn't matter how old the software is, if it works for them. New hardware/software does not always equate to more secure. Just look at Intel and Win10. Heck even Apple and Android new offerings are being hit. It is though as you stated requiring people to attempt avoiding attacks. But using new products is no guarantee.
     
  8. Jules Mark

    Jules Mark TS Enthusiast Posts: 59   +22

    Just encrypt your backups HDD with a simple password. It can protect against some ransomware attacks.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
  9. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,580   +5,139

    jobeard likes this.
  10. Bullwinkle M

    Bullwinkle M TS Booster Posts: 152   +78

    Yes, it is too bad the people working for local government agencies do not have functioning brains

    If they DID have functioning brains, they would be proud to use "secure" software that is NEVER outdated, without fear of ransomware or other threats, even those from Microsoft
     
  11. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,108   +1,592

    :giggling: ME TOO. The email reported a password for an account abandoned last year so who cares -- they can't login to an account that was closed.

    Secondary point. The origin of the email as internal to the email service!!
    So much for their vetting of employees
     
  12. lexster

    lexster TS Guru Posts: 611   +299

    That's true.

    Also true.

    This is easily the smartest thing I've seen you say.

    Plausible point.

    LOL!
     
  13. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,684   +4,028

    Absolutely amazing that as often as this has happened these cities and towns remain so unprepared. So how many of them used "Password" or "123456789" for their server passwords? I'm betting more than you will believe .....
     
  14. Aux101

    Aux101 TS Enthusiast Posts: 49   +6

    President Trump had 'promised' the creation of a super agency to combat cybercrime if I remember correctly. He's been there for almost three years now and nothing has been done that I'm aware of.
     
  15. lazer

    lazer TS Addict Posts: 261   +60

    If state and city governments are hit so easily, isn't it just a matter of time until the federal government is hit. and looking forward in time, an enemy nation could possibly come into the armed forces and wreck havoc with the country's security?
     
  16. Markoni35

    Markoni35 TS Addict Posts: 312   +130

    Wanna bet it's Israel who are making that ransomware?
     
  17. lazer

    lazer TS Addict Posts: 261   +60

    OK, I'll bet you. Get your computer infected with ransomware and see where the money goes......
     
  18. lexster

    lexster TS Guru Posts: 611   +299

    Citation?
     

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