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Texas struck by two ransomware attacks in one week

The Texas Department of Transportation was hit with a ransomware attack last Thursday, marking the second ransomware incident on a state agency in less than a week.

Texas' state government has been impacted by two ransomware attacks in less than a week.

The Texas Department of Transportation (DOT) was hit with a ransomware attack last Thursday, the DOT announced on Friday.

"The Texas Department of Transportation determined that on May 14, 2020, there was unauthorized access to the agency's network in a ransomware event. TxDOT immediately took steps to isolate the incident and shut down further unauthorized access. In addition, the agency promptly began working with federal law enforcement," the statement, which was posted on the department's Facebook page, read. "TxDOT is working closely with the FBI to find the individual(s) responsible and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law."

It's unclear if the ransomware attack was successful and if so, what services have been disrupted by the attack. SearchSecurity attempted to call six different phone numbers for the Texas DOT, but none of the calls connected. In addition, the website's email contact form was down at press time.

The previous Friday, the Texas courts were disrupted when the state's Office of Court Administration (OCA) was hit with ransomware that led to its network being disabled in order to limit spread. In a statement on Twitter, the OCA said it would not pay the ransom and added that the damage from the attack was mitigated because many of its IT systems had recently been migrated to the cloud, and those resources were not affected.

The Lone Star State is no stranger to ransomware attacks on government networks. Last August, a single ransomware attack hit 22 local governments in Texas, which featured an overall ransom demand of $2.5 million.

A report by Recorded Future last year noted that ransomware attacks on local and state governments are on the rise. A more recent report by Kaspersky noted much of the same thing. Notable attacks on government networks over the last several years include Colorado, Louisiana and Baltimore, among many others. The Colorado incident was a highly publicized SamSam attack that hit the state's DOT in February 2018.

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