Dallas leaders await ransomware update, advocate urges employees protect financial lives now | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

DALLAS ( – Along with the inconvenience, aggravation and the potential identity theft risk for employees, Dallas’ May ransomware attack also came with a hefty price tag.

According to a city After Action Review report slated to be presented to the council Wednesday but was ultimately postponed, $8.5 million has been spent in “computer-based interdiction, mitigation, recovery and restoration efforts.”

It is more difficult, though, to put a price tag on the ongoing risk for some 30,000 employees. The haul for the hackers included personal information such as names, addresses, social security numbers, medical information and more.

Employees have been offered free credit monitoring and identity theft insurance for two years.  However, some experts say the exposure can extend beyond the employees.

“A lot of times people actually use this kind of information to defraud your friends and family,” shares ‘Doc’ Compton, a local consumer advocate. “They’ll use it to hack your email account or your social media account because some of that information can be used to reclaim your social media accounts. Then the would-be scammers will contact the people on your friends or contact lists and ask them for money, pretending to be you, and that’s just one of many examples of the types of things that they can do.”

Compton spends his days looking to scam the scammers through what he calls ‘spam baiting’…altering his voice and allowing online criminals to believe he’s a potential victim when he’s actually gathering information to turn over to police. He’s also gathering hilarious videos to feed his social media channels. 

Still, he admits that although he’s savvy enough to be ‘spam bait,’ he’s also been bitten.

“I literally live and breathe in the space all day, every day, and because I felt sure of where I was. I was able to be taken advantage of,” Compton said.

Compton says he was scammed in a private, vetted college alumni Facebook group when another member’s account was hacked.

“I always tell people to trust your gut,” said Compton. “If something seems a little bit out of the ordinary, if a friend or family member that never asks you for money suddenly does through social media. That’s something that would probably raise some red flags.”

So, he repeats his warning: “It can happen to anyone, and the people that are most likely to get busted by a scammer are the people who think they could never get busted by a scammer.”

The scamming epidemic becomes even more personal as Compton shares that he only learned that his own father had been a victim after he died. He pulls a $20,000 canceled check from a desk drawer showing his father had been tricked into allowing hackers to take over control of his computer. The money could not be recovered.

In a voice shaky with emotion even now, he wishes he had done more. 

“You know, my dad,” Compton said. “I didn’t have as much of a conversation as I should have with my dad about this topic. It wasn’t enough. But I hear stories about people that they took their disability check or their social security check, and now they can’t buy their heart medicine or their insulin, so every effort that anyone can take to potentially prevent that, they’ve got to take it now. Don’t wait, because tomorrow could be too late.”


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National Cyber Security