DALLAS (CBSNewsTexas.com) — On Tuesday, the City of Dallas disclosed that over 26,000 people were affected by a ransomware attack that occurred three months ago.
In early May, hackers accessed names, addresses, medical data and other information through city government servers.
Alater claimed they encrypted the city’s critical data and threatened to post sensitive information online. Their alleged cyber intrusion also impacted for police and fire departments, municipal courts, water utilities and other services.
As a whole, 26,212 people were affected. And CBS News Texas has since learned that some city employees are already reporting identity theft. What’s more is that some of their children have also had their personal information stolen.
“Unfortunately, it was what I expected,” said Dallas Fire Fighters Association President Jim McDade. “That’s why I took out the identity theft protection back in May.”
McDade—whose personal information was also compromised—said his 1,500 members have been outraged at what they believe has been a sluggish response by the city.
On top of that, he said his 10-year-old son and the children and spouses of other city employees have had their information stolen, too.
Cyber security expert Andrew Sternke said if children have been victimized, it can haunt them into adulthood.
“This information is released out onto the dark web to be sold,” Sternke said. “When that kid turns 18, it’s a free-for-all and that’s another concerning aspect: that it’s not just the adults we have to worry about.”
Those concerns prompted the city to release a statement defending the time it took to report its findings about the ransomware attack.
“On June 14, 2023, and in the weeks following, the investigation determined that the accessed files contained sensitive information of certain individuals. The initial phase of the investigation and data review was completed in late July determining whose and what information was involved in the incident.”
As a result, two years of free credit monitoring will be offered to those who have had their personal information stolen.
Read the full timeline of the ransomware attack and its aftermath on the City of Dallas’ website here.