After nearly two dozen Texas cities and counties reported a ransomware attack last week, Grayson County and Denison opted to temporarily disconnect their external, web-based services Monday. The move was meant to protect the county and city from any related digital attacks but interrupted public access to a number of online services.
In a news release issued Sunday, the Grayson County Operations of Emergency Management said county offices were briefly unable to send or receive emails, receive e-filings, issue birth, death or marriage records, or receive web-based inquiries.
Grayson County Judge Bill Magers and Grayson County Emergency Management Director Sarah Somers both said Monday that the county had not been targeted in the attack, but officials ceased connections out of an abundance of caution. The county’s connections and services were fully restored Monday afternoon.
The Texas Department of Information Resources reports that a total of 23 entities were targeted in the ransomware attack and the majority of those were smaller, local governments. Ransomware attacks are a form of hacking and individuals often threaten to publish or block access to digital files and interrupt operations.
Denison issued a news release Monday that said it had not been affected by the attacks either, but had also moved to briefly disconnect its online information systems. During the off-line period, city staff are not expected to have access to email, card payments will not be accepted at city hall, and the SNAP Center’s public computers will not be connected to the internet. Denison’s city website remains operational.
“The City of Denison treats all cybersecurity threats seriously and is exercising extreme caution by disconnecting its systems from the internet,” the release said. “It should be noted that the personal information of residents and customers is not at risk.”
As of Monday, Sherman’s online services were still up and unaffected. A statement from the city’s information technology department encouraged staff to use caution while online and to remain aware of the risk for possible network breaches.
Grayson County Jurors summoned to court this week are still required to report. E-filing documents submitted to the county after 5 p.m. last Friday may not have been received
For additional information from Grayson County, follow the Grayson County OEM Facebook page. For additional information from the city of Denison, call 903-465-2720.