On Friday, more than 20 small government agencies across Texas reported a ransomware attack, including the city of Keene.
Ransomware is a type of malicious software that blocks access to a computer system or data, usually by encrypting it, until the victim pays a fee to the attacker.
About 10 state and federal agencies have been enlisted as part of the response to the attack, including the Texas Department of Information Resources, Military Department and Division of Emergency Management, the FBI and Department for Homeland Security.
The TDIR confirmed in a press release that 23 entities have been impacted.
“At this time, the evidence gathered indicates the attacks came from one single threat actor,” the release states. “Investigations into the origin of this attack are ongoing; however, response and recovery are the priority at this time.
Economic Development Director Landis Adams said Keene remains open for business.
“Credit card utility payments and service disconnections have been suspended until further notice,” Adams said. “Investigators assured city leadership that customer and employee personal information is not compromised. Water treatment operations are working well. The city public works department continues to monitor the treatment system.”
Adams said city leaders are working with representatives from the operations section of the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the Texas Department of Public Safety’s State Operations Center to restore affected computer infrastructure.
The city will keep Keene residents updated on the recovery process at www.keenetx.com and on Facebook.
The TDIR offers the following tips for cybersecurity:
• Do not open suspicious or unexpected links or attachments in emails.
• Hover over hyperlinks in emails to verify they are going to the anticipated site.
• Be aware of malicious actors attempting to impersonate legitimate staff, and check the email sender name against the sender’s email address.
• Use unique strong passwords or pass-phrases for all accounts.
• Do not provide personal or organizational information unless you are certain of the requestor’s authority, identity and legitimacy.
• Alert your IT staff or supervisor if you have any concerns about the legitimacy of any email, attachment or link.
• Take advantage of available cybersecurity awareness training.