Ransomware everywhere: One coordinated attack hits 22 American towns
Even two years after the super-dangerous WannaCry ransomware attack, government computer systems haven't been equipped with the technology to thwart critical cyber-crimes. In fact, the cases of attacks have increased over the months, and in the latest one, nearly two dozen small American towns have been targeted. Here's all about the attack and its impact on the towns.
Ransomware attacks typically revolve around hacking an individual's computer and holding its data hostage unless the target agrees to pay a certain sum of money. These attacks are pretty common; however in this particular case, it is not a single person but 22 government departments in small Texas towns that have been targeted. Their systems were compromised, with data apparently being held hostage.
According to a report from the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR), the attack was carried out on August 16 by, what appears to look like, one single threat actor. They denied providing specific details of the ransomware or the name of the departments and towns affected but said the systems were offline and are now being handled by response teams for restoration.
As the response teams continue to work on the affected systems, the FBI and Texas DIR are investigating the case in hopes of tracking down the culprit. It is not exactly clear how much money the attacker asked for, but a spokesperson from the Texas department suggested they were not aware of any department agreeing to pay up the asked amount.
The authorities are expected to provide more details about the ransomware and the damage once the systems are restored. However, the fact that a lone actor was able to compromise 22 government systems is enough to show that cyber-criminals have become sophisticated enough to carry out bulk attacks. Notably, before this, over 22 other US cities have been targeted in similar kind of attacks.