Ransomware attack prompts Texas courts to disable websites, servers

A ransomware attack on Texas courts discovered “during the overnight hours” last Thursday night forced the Office of Court Administration (OCA) to disable websites and servers.

Noting that “at this time, there is no indication that sensitive information, including personal information, was compromised,” the OCA said in a release that it “was able to catch the ransomware and limit its impact and will not pay any ransom.”

The agency has set up a temporary website to provide “critical judicial branch information,” including that regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, while the court system’s branch network remains disabled and until the incident is remediated.

“The latest Texas ransomware incident follows last year’s string of ransomware attacks on various Texas municipalities,” said Bitglass CTO Anurag Kahol. “State and local governments often struggle to keep pace with updates and upgrades to their software and systems, and by offering more services to citizens digitally without making necessary cybersecurity investments, they leave themselves more vulnerable to cyberattacks.”

In addition to implementing security measures, Kahol said government organizations “must ensure adequate employee security training to identify phishing attempts and illegitimate emails.”  

The OCA said court employees had received – and will continue to receive – cybersecurity training.

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