LUBBOCK, Texas — More than 20 local governments have been attacked by coordinated ransomware, according to the Texas Department of Information Resources.
Ransomware attacks involve a form of malware typically sent through email attachments. Once the link or attachment has been opened, files, data, and sensitive information is encrypted, causing you to be locked out and lose access to the device.
Smaller Texas cities typically share service providers, making them susceptible to attacks all at once. In total, nearly $2.5 million in total was demanded from the municipalities.
Sam Segran, Chief Information Officer at Texas Tech University, said companies and agencies in the South Plains should practice good cyber-hygiene.
“Make sure that a qualified security vendor is not just protecting your computers or the data files, but that they also train employees,” said Segran.
On a personal level, Segran advises people to remove sensitive information off their network and onto a removable media and “lock it up” in a secure environment.
State officials say several of the Texas cities affected should resume normal operations by next week.