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Ransomware Attack Hits Local Governments In Texas

Trey Shaar
Texas emergency response personnel at the State Operations Center at DPS headquarters in Austin during Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

Update: The number of local government entities in Texas affected by a ransomware attack is now up to 23. In a release Saturday afternoon, the Texas Department of Information Resources said the local governments reported the attacks Friday morning. The majority of them are smaller local governments.

In an email to KUT, a spokesman for Austin's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said the city was currently not impacted by the cyberattack.

"We are monitoring the situation," Bryce Bencivengo said.

The DIR said it is continuting to investigate the origin of the attack, but at the moment believes it came from a "single threat actor." The agency said State of Texas systems and networks have not been affected.

The original post follows.


A coordinated ransomware attack has affected at least 20 local government entities in Texas, the Texas Department of Information Resources said. It would not release information about which local governments have been affected.

The department said the Texas Division of Emergency Managementis coordinating support from other state agencies through the Texas State Operations Center at DPS headquarters in Austin.

DIR said the Texas Military Department and the Texas A&M University Systems' Cyber-Response and Security Operations Center teams are deploying resources to "the most critically impacted jurisdictions."

Elliot Sprehe, press secretary for the department, said DIR was working to confirm which government entities are affected and said other information was still coming in.

"It looks like we found out earlier today, but we’re not currently releasing who’s impacted due to security concerns,” he said.

KUT contacted the City of Austin about the cyberattack, but the public information officer declined to comment.

The Department of Information Resources advises jurisdictions that have been impacted to contact their local Texas Department of Emergency Management Disaster District Coordinator. DIR says it’s committed to providing the resources necessary to bring affected entities “back online.”

This post has been updated. 

Trey Shaar is an All Things Considered producer, reporter and host. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @treyshaar.
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