Tarrant Appraisal District says it experienced ransomware attack | #ransomware | #cybercrime

The agency’s board of directors will meet Monday.

FORT WORTH, Texas — The Tarrant Appraisal District confirmed Friday it was the victim of a criminal ransomware attack, the day after the agency said its updated website crashed amid a “network disruption.”

“In response to the discovery, we took steps to secure our network and are working with leading independent cybersecurity experts to assist with the investigation, response, and restoration process,” the agency said in a news release. “Our investigation has confirmed that the Tarrant Appraisal District has been the victim of a criminal ransomware attack. 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.”

The appraisal district’s board of directors is expected to meet Monday, March 25, and will provide an update about the incident.

The district’s new website was reportedly launched early, prompted by a database failure that caused its old website to crash. The district’s phone and email service are still down, according to the appraisal district’s website.

“Our investigation is ongoing, and we are working diligently with our retained experts to safely and securely restore operations,” the agency added.

Tarrant County Judge Tim O’Hare expressed frustration about the incident on social media.

“It is frustrating to hear about another security issue facing the Tarrant Appraisal District,” O’Hare wrote. “I know they are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. It is imperative that TAD keep the public informed about the situation and ensure private data is protected.”

The agency experienced a security breach in 2022, as WFAA reported, but an investigation determined there was no evidence that any taxpayer information was accessed or compromised.

Former chief appraiser and executive director of the Tarrant Appraisal District, Jeff Law, reportedly resigned last year shortly after the district’s former director of information systems was fired amid an investigation into allegations that raised questions about the cause of website problems users experienced last April and May.

Joe Don Bobbitt was named the Tarrant Appraisal District’s new chief appraiser late last year.

The Tarrant Appraisal District is responsible for property tax appraisal and exemption administration in Tarrant County.

The cities of Dallas and Fort Worth also experienced cyberattacks last year.

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