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article imageTexas Court network down after ransomware attack Special

By Tim Sandle     May 14, 2020 in Technology
Texas recently disclosed that its court system has been hit by a ransomware attack. The state discovered the attack and confirmed that it is not going to pay the ransom. The Office of Court Administration (OCA) has disabled the system.
The systems disabled by the OCA are branch network, websites, and servers. This is in order to prevent further damage. According to TX Today, work continues to bring all judicial branch resources and entities back online.
Commenting on the attack for Digital Journal, Anurag Kahol, CTO, Bitglass looks at the history of incidences in the U.S. state: "The latest Texas ransomware incident follows last year’s string of ransomware attacks on various Texas municipalities. State and local governments often struggle to keep pace with updates and upgrades to their software and systems, and by offering more services to citizens digitally without making necessary cybersecurity investments, they leave themselves more vulnerable to cyberattacks."
Drawing on a recent study, Kahol explains: "According to Deloitte, ransomware attacks on state and local governments increased by almost 150 percent in 2019. " The analyst anticipates that this spate of attacks will be seen throughout the remainder of 2020 and into 2021.
So what can be done to reduce exposure? According to Kahol: "To thwart ransomware attacks and mitigate their impact, government entities need advanced threat protection – particularly during this era when more employees are working from home than ever before." As well as government bodies, this advice also applies to business organizations.
Key measures that need to be taken within the corporate hierarchy include: leveraging "agentless security solutions that can identify and remediate both known and zero-day threats on any cloud application or service, and protect managed and unmanaged devices that access corporate resources and data. This includes solutions that can automatically block malware in the cloud that is both at rest or in transit."
Finally, Kahol recommends boosting the skill set of employees: "Organizations must ensure adequate employee security training to identify phishing attempts and illegitimate emails as phishing is the primary vector for ransomware attacks."
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