Texas Municipality ransomware attack (2019)

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Date 16 August 2019[1]
Suspected actor REvil[2] (i.e., Ransomware Evil[3]), also known as Sodinokibi, a ransomware-as-a-service group[4]
Target 22[5] or 23[6] small towns in Texas, U.S.
Method Targeting shared service providers of multiple municipalities[7]
Purpose Unclear.
Result More than 40 municipalities have been targeted by ransomware attacks over the summer of 2019.[8] The attack on Texas municipalities, however, has been described as the most coordinated attack among all of them.[7] As a result of the attack, city workers were unable to accept payments and to access vital records, including birth and death certificates.[9]
Aftermath The Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) has led the response to this ransomware attack and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) initiated investigations into the origin of the attack.[10] Immediately after the attack, the municipalities were assisted by numerous federal and state agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, Texas A&M’s Information Technology and Electronic Crime Unit and the Texas Military Department.[11]
Analysed in Scenario 14: Ransomware campaign

Collected by: Nele Achten

  1. Alina Georgiana Petcu, 'An Overview of the Texas Ransomware Attack and What You Can Learn from It' Heimdal Security (11 December 2020)
  2. 'Texas Municipalities Hit by REvil/Sodinokibi Paid No Ransom, Over Half Resume Operations' Trend Micro (10 September 2019)
  3. Lucian Constantin, 'REvil ransomware explained: A widespread extortion operation' CSO (17 November 2020)
  4. Singapore Computer Emergency Response Team, 'Revil Unravelled' (1 September 2020)
  5. Bobby Allyn, “22 Texas Towns Hit With Ransomware Attack In 'New Front' Of Cyberassault”, 20 August 2019.
  6. 'Texas government organisations hit by ransomware attack' BBC News (19 August 2019)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Manny Fernandez, Mihir Zaveri and Emily S. Rueb, “Ransomware Attack Hits 22 Texas Towns, Authorities Say”, 20 August 2019.
  8. Niraj Chokshi, “Hackers Are Holding Baltimore Hostage: How They Struck and What’s Next”, 22 May 2019.
  9. Kathleen Foody and Jake Bleiberg, AP, “Ransomware attack hits more than 20 Texas local governments”, 20 August 2019.
  10. Texas Department of Information Resources, “Update on the August 2019 Texas Cyber Incident”, 20 August 2019.
  11. Kate Fazzini, “Alarm in Texas as 23 towns hit by ‘coordinated’ ransomware attack”, 19 August 2019.