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Dallas to offer credit monitoring for employees after ransomware attack | #ransomware | #cybercrime


One month after a ransomware attack on the city, Dallas said it will offer free credit monitoring to its more than 12,000 employees,

City Manager T.C. Broadnax said in an email to employees Thursday the service is being offered as a precaution, because officials haven’t found proof that information from workers or residents has been publicly released. The offer for free monitoring comes two weeks after the Dallas Police Association and Dallas Fire Fighters Association called for similar protections for its members as a result of the attack.

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 Thursday.

Broadnax wrote that officials are still working to understand all the facts of what happened.

“If the investigation determines that individuals’ sensitive information was involved in this incident, we will notify those individuals directly and provide resources to help protect their information in accordance with applicable law,” Broadnax said in the email.

He didn’t immediately respond Thursday to a request for comment from The Dallas Morning News on if residents will also be offered credit monitoring services or how much the protections for employees will cost the city. Catherine Cuellar, the city’s communications director, responded on his behalf but declined to comment on the credit monitoring.

In his email to employees, Broadnax said the city will be mailing workers more information about the services and how to sign up. He advised employees to watch for suspicious activity by taking steps such as regularly reviewing financial statements and credit reports.

“This incident has presented challenges, and we are immensely proud of the way every employee has stepped up to continue to serve our residents and community,” Broadnax said in the email.

Dallas officials told The News last week the work to restore city systems and services was more than 90% complete. IT workers have had to review, clean, rebuild and restore computers and servers after the May 3 ransomware attack impacted several servers, according to the city.

The attack affected many departments, including initially forcing 911 dispatchers to write down information from emergency calls and relay them over radio to police and firefighters to respond.

The scope of the attack, how it happened, the amount of recovery work the city has done, and what’s left is still unclear as of Thursday. City officials have cited a criminal investigation into the attack as the main reason to not fully explain the incident. Dallas’ communications director emailed the mayor and City Council members last week urging them to stick to telling inquiring residents and media that an investigation is ongoing and that updates will be shared “as appropriate.”

The City Council has met at least half a dozen times in closed session meetings to discuss Dallas’ network security and other issues related to the incident. The latest was during the council’s weekly Wednesday meeting, where Mayor Eric Johnson announced that elected officials would also be seeking the advice of the city attorney’s office about the attack during the closed session.

Bill Zielinski, Dallas’ chief information officer, told council members Monday during a public safety committee meeting that the city is working with cybersecurity experts, added more security software, reset all user accounts and are taking other steps since the attack.

The city hasn’t given any information about a potential ransom linked to the data breach and has maintained that there is no evidence any personal information from employees or residents have been leaked.

“We fully understand the concern that causes both to our city’s residents and as well as to our employees and we continue to investigate and are working with third-party experts in law enforcement to review and analyze the situation as expeditiously as possible,” Zielinski said Monday about the data leak threat. “The process will take time to complete, but we are committed to a thorough analysis and committed to communicating throughout the process.”



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