A week after falling victim to a ransomware attack, the Travis Central Appraisal District has been able to fully restore its customer service operations, agency officials said Monday.
The appraisal district’s office was hit with a Royal ransomware attack that shut down its phone lines and an online chat system. It was not clear whether a specific ransom demand was made because the agency refused to communicate with the hacker, said Cynthia Martinez, a spokesperson for the appraisal district. Ransomware typically refers to software that blocks access to a network or a system or causes some other type of problem.
The Travis Central Appraisal District provides appraisal values for all properties in Travis County. An appraisal value determines how much a home is worth, which is then used to calculate property tax bills.
Ransomware attacks have been felt across the state in recent weeks. In November, the Dallas Central Appraisal District was hacked, shutting down its website, servers and email for more than two weeks, according to The Dallas Morning News.
San Antonio-based Rackspace Technology, a cloud computing service, was also hit by a ransomware attack that prevented its customers from accessing email for several days. A potential class-action lawsuit is pending over the security breach, the San Antonio Express-News reported.
More:Travis Central Appraisal District hit with ransomware attack
Travis Chief Appraiser Marya Crigler said Monday that the appraisal district’s security protocols protected private taxpayer information from being accessed and allowed the agency to continue most of its operations. Property tax bills and payments with the Travis County tax office were unaffected, according to the district.
“Our infrastructure allowed us to continue a majority of our services and recover our network with minimal impact,” Crigler said. “We appreciated everyone’s patience during this process.”
Crigler said the phone lines are back up and customer service agents are ready to help Travis County property owners who need assistance, and that can be done by email, phone or online chat.