Dallas library online catalog restored almost two months after ransomware attack | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

Dallas libraries can now process book returns, allow residents to browse their online catalog and apply for library cards after their system was restored Friday, nearly two months after a ransomware attack.

Dallas Public Library Director Jo Guidice said volunteers are being sought to help re-shelve thousands of books and other items that have either piled up while workers weren’t able to process them or will be returned after officials urged people to keep them since the May 3 cyberattack.

Public computers at city libraries are still down. She said residents should expect delays in getting items they’ve requested on hold and could see problems with their accounts as workers try to get through the backlog.

“We are asking our customers to be patient with us and be assured that we will work through any issues on their accounts,” Guidice said in a statement Friday. She said people should call or visit their local library branch if they notice any issues with their account.

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City spokesperson Jennifer Brown declined to comment Friday when asked what lingering impacts from the ransomware attack remain and an updated estimate on progress. She said any new information from the city would be posted to its public website. A spokesperson for Mayor Eric Johnson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The city said several servers were compromised with ransomware early May 3 and that it intentionally took others offline to prevent the bad software from spreading. It led to several departments being hampered and some city services being unavailable, such as residents being unable to pay their water bills online or not being able to report non-emergency complaints via the city’s 311 app.

It also led to the library’s online catalog being taken offline, meaning books and other items could be checked out by hand but digital databases weren’t available to track them back into the system.

Dallas officials said earlier this month that the work to restore systems and services citywide were more than 90% complete. IT workers have had to review, clean, rebuild and restore computers and servers since the cyberattack last month, according to the city.

Details on the scope of the attack, how it happened and the amount of recovery work the city has done still hasn’t been released by city officials. They have cited a criminal investigation into the attack as the main reason to not fully explain the incident.

Royal, the group suspected to be behind the cyberattack, on May 19 threatened to publicly release data stored by the municipal government. It doesn’t appear that has happened as of Friday.

The city announced earlier this month that free credit monitoring would be offered to employees as a precaution. City officials have said they haven’t found proof that information from workers or residents have been publicly released.


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