Local governments on edge after statewide coordinated ransomware attack

Published: Aug. 19, 2019 at 6:31 PM CDT
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"Ransomware is about the nastiest thing you can get," said Josh McBride.

McBride, with Texoma Network Solutions, says ransomware is rarely a targeted attack, as whoever starts it sends out the ransomware takes files, corrupt backups in your computer, and then demands a ransom - often for thousands of dollars.

"Once it happens, you either pay the ransom or you pay to have it restored, if you have a backup. If you don't have a backup, you're not getting it back. So you can either start from square one, day one like you just opened your business, or you can pay whatever ransom there is, and hope they actually give it back," said McBride.

According to the Texas Department of Information Resources, 23 municipalities across the state have been hit with this coordinated cyber attack.

Grayson County Emergency Management Director Sarah Somers says this ransomware is the same threat contacting governments across the state, and disables them to do business.

"So when you sign on, instead of your beautiful grandchilds picture, which is usually your wallpaper, you have a notice from someone you don't know that says 'hi, we just want money, we dont want to mess you up too bad, but we want $2.5 million in bitcoin, and this is how you transmit it'," said Somers.

To prevent this from happening to you, McBride says to make sure to only open emails from people you know, and keep your computer safe from any sort of virus.

"Security, security, security. A lot of people think that whatever is built in Windows is fine. Its great, its a decent product, but it doesn't protect against everything. If you want something that's going to protect you, you're going to pay for it," said McBride.

Police Chief Mike Bankston confirms the Bonham Police Department is one of the at least 23 local government entities hit by this ransomware attack, but said no personal information has been compromised in the attack.

Some services were disabled in Grayson County for less than 24 hours, but Somers says all systems are back online without any issues.