LUBBOCK, Texas — Due to a ransomware attack, the Snyder City Hall Building will remain closed until further notice. City officials said they would not be accepting payments as they work to get the problem resolved with an outside agency.
This is the second ransomware attack in Snyder this year, and unfortunately, Information Technology experts said these types of attacks are getting a lot more common.
“Ransomware is a form of malware. So typically, it’s becoming increasingly common,” said Scott Hall, Managing Director for Texas Tech IT Help Central.
Hall said ransomware is a coordinated cyber attack where hackers gain access to data and encrypt or lock it until a ransom amount of money is paid.
“They’re going to ask you to pay a fee to either get access to that data or to unlock it that can result in several things,” said Hall. “One is they may or may not actually give you access.”
Last year, several counties in Texas experienced ransomware attacks – costing cities millions in damages. Hall said the hackers don’t always give access to your data right after you pay them and will often publish or sell your information as well.
“They may come back later for additional ransoms, or what’s becoming more common, is that they take that data and publish it,” said Hall.
However, there is a lot you can do to protect yourself – and it all starts with backing up your important information.
“Make sure your systems are updated. Make sure you’re changing passwords and using secure passwords,” said Hall. “And stay informed. Make sure you understand the types of malware and how to prevent getting infections.”
Hall said if you’re ever in a ransomware situation, you should notify authorities and work with an IT professional to properly respond.
The City of Lubbock IT director James Brown released a statement regarding how Lubbock handles cybersecurity matter like ransomware:
“As a matter of practice, we don’t comment on our security capabilities. Our security posture is constantly changing as threats evolve.”