Ransomware attack shuts down Tarrant County tax appraisal website – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth | #ransomware | #cybercrime

The Tarrant Appraisal District says a network disruption on Thursday resulted from a criminal ransomware attack.

The TAD said in a statement Friday that after learning of the network disruption they took steps to secure their network and worked with cybersecurity experts to determine the cause of the disruption and how to restore services.

That investigation, the agency said Friday, revealed the ransomware attack.

“Our investigation has confirmed that the Tarrant Appraisal District has been the victim of a criminal ransomware attack,” the agency said in a statement Friday afternoon. “We have reported this incident to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Texas Department of Information Resources and will cooperate with any resulting investigation.”

Chief Appraiser Joe Don Bobbitt said Thursday they have no reason to believe sensitive information was involved in the “disruption,” but that if that changes they will take appropriate steps to notify those involved.

The agency said Friday that they are currently still working to restore full operations. The TAD website is accessible, but the ability to search for records is still offline. According to a statement at the top of the website, the TAD’s phones and email are also temporarily disrupted.

The Tarrant Appraisal District assigns property values for ad valorem taxation purposes for jurisdictions throughout Tarrant County and its website is routinely used by property owners and real estate agents.

More information will be shared during a board meeting on Monday.


The trouble Thursday comes just a week after the agency was forced to switch to a new website earlier than planned following a database failure. The TAD said they had intended to run the new and old sites simultaneously for another two weeks but had to cut that short after the crash.

Bobbitt said last week that the new site was not the cause of the database failure and that the new website “should provide a much better experience to the public.”

In a statement released last week, the new agency said the new site featured improved layout, navigation and functionality for users searching for property information or related documents.

In recent years there has been a sharp rise in property values across North Texas and, as a result, a rise in people protesting those appraisals. In early 2023, the TAD released a feature on its website that was supposed to improve the appeal process but the feature was not functional for weeks.

In August 2023 the TAD Board fired an IT administrator who was secretly recorded saying, “I’m OK with creating a false narrative that distances the truth from the media,” in reference to the ongoing website problems. Later that month, the Tarrant County Commissioners Court scheduled a vote of ‘No Confidence’ for then-chief appraiser Jeff Law who eventually resigned from the agency.

In December 2023, the agency said they found malicious software in their computer system but found no evidence of a data breach.

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