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Alert in Texas: 23 cities are affected by a "coordinated" ransomware attack

Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott

Alex Wong | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Twenty-three Texas cities have been hit by a "coordinated" ransomware attack by the state's Ministry of Information Resources to pay the organization's systems until a ransom is paid or files are restored in some other way. In many cases, ransomware severely damages the computer hardware and associated machines, resulting in days or weeks in offline systems, which can be costly for cities.

According to a Texas DIR weekend update, the attacks started on Friday morning and although the sites are not named, "most of these units were smaller local governments."

The attacks followed recent government and local ransomware attacks in New York, Louisiana, Maryland, and Florida, resulting in the loss of significant sums of money ̵

1; either for ransom demands from criminals or for repairs for the damage they cause. It is also unclear whether any of the Texas jurisdictions have paid the attackers ransom or if the same criminals are being linked to attacks on other US cities.

"The systems and networks of the state of Texas do not seem to be affected Companies that were actually or potentially affected were identified and notified," the DIR said. While the state has determined that a "threat actor" is responsible for all 23 attacks, he has not yet determined who is responsible. "The investigation into the origin of this attack is ongoing, but the reaction and recovery are currently a priority," said the department.

Texas is backed by numerous federal and state agencies, including FEMA, the Department of Homeland Security, the Texas A & M Information Technology and Electronic Crime Division, and the Texas Military Department, which also includes National Guard branches.

This is an evolving story. Check back for updates.

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