Texas Takes Second Ransomware Hit
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has been hit by ransomware just days after the state’s judiciary system suffered the same fate.
According to a May 15 message posted on Twitter by TxDOT, the attack struck on May 14, when a threat actor gained unauthorized access to the department’s computer network.
The network was shut down as soon as the attack was detected in an effort to contain the threat and prevent any further unauthorized access.
TxDOT executive director James Bass said in the statement: “We want every Texan to rest assured that we are doing everything we can to swiftly address this issue. We also are working to ensure critical operations continue during this interruption.”
Federal law enforcement was informed of the attack, and TxDOT said that no mercy will be shown to whomever is found to be responsible for it.
Bass said: “TxDOT is working closely with the FBI to find the individual(s) responsible and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”
TxDOT oversees all air, road, and railway transportation in the state. At time of publication, the department’s website was back up and running.
News of the TxDOT attack comes days after a ransomware attack hit the state’s judicial agencies and appellate courts on May 8. As a result of the incident, access to case management systems was lost and court offices were unable to connect to the internet.
With the usual channels disabled by cyber-criminals, staff were reduced to using social media to announce legal rulings.
The first attack was identified by the Office of Court Administration (OCA). No information as to whether the two attacks were linked in any way has been forthcoming.
Neither the OCA nor TxDOT shared any information regarding what, if any, data had been encrypted or stolen. Similarly, neither ransomware target has disclosed any details of a ransom demand.
Texas is fast becoming a hotspot for cyber-attacks. In 2019, ransomware was used to target 22 local governments across the Lone Star State in a single attack. The collective ransom demand for the coordinated assault was $2.5m.