It’s been almost a month since the Dallas Central Appraisal District was targeted by a ransomware attack that left its employees without email access and its website completely inaccessible.
According to the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, ransomware is designed to encrypt files on a device or server and render them (and anything that relies on them) unusable until the organization or user pays a ransom in exchange for decrypting the files.
So far, DCAD has been tight-lipped about exactly who may have perpetrated the attack, only saying that the FBI was contacted, and that the agency is not able to process homestead exemptions.
A memo from city Chief Financial Officer Jack Ireland to the Dallas City Council provides a few more details about the situation, including the fact that DCAD alerted the city’s IT security team on November 9. That team reviewed the city’s IT infrastructure and updated firewalls that “proactively isolate any network traffic which might originate from DCAD systems.” City systems were not impacted by the attack, the team concluded.
Ireland told the council that DCAD expected to have email restored yesterday, and have contracted with a third-party vendor to create and host a “limited website” that will allow users to perform searches and access some data and forms. The site will likely be available to the public on December 14.
Until then, the url for the site redirects to a state-mandated landing page.