For businesses and government agencies, if a hacker can find their way into your systems, they will. Amarillo City Government and Potter County was hit hard by a ransomware attack in April of 2019, and now another Texas government agency has just announced they have been hit as well.

The Texas Department of Transportation has determined that on May 14, 2020, there was unauthorized access to the agency’s network in a ransomware event. If you are unfamiliar with what ransomware is, it is when your files are locked, encrypted, or threatened to be deleted unless you pay a hacker to unlock them. And even then they still might not give you access. You are held for ransom with your computer system and files. In most cases, if the threat comes to fruition, it can be almost impossible to get your systems and files back in place.

TxDOT says they immediately took steps to isolate the incident and shut down further unauthorized access. In addition, the agency promptly began working with federal law enforcement. So far, TxDOT has not said whether the ransomware attack has caused any disruption in their services to the public.

“We believe we have a duty to inform our fellow Texans and our fellow state agencies of this unfortunate incident,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “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.”

TxDOT is working closely with the FBI to find the individual(s) responsible and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. In most cases, the criminal parties can not be tracked down due to the sophistication of their hacking and the possibility that they live overseas.

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