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Laredo City’s Office become victim of a ransomware attack


On Wednesday, May 22 2019, the Laredo City fall prey to a ransomware attack, where the ransomware virus encrypted the document management system that is used by City Secretary's Office. The attack took place around 1:30am. On the afternoon of May 23, 2019, Rosario Cabello, the Co-Interim City Manager, said that the systems in almost all of their departments are now running fine and is back to normal.


However, on May 22, 2019, all computers belonging to the City employees were required to be shut down in order to contain this virus. Cabello said that it was only after checking each of the computer one after one by information technology staff of the Laredo City along with the police and the fire departments, the computers were turned on. Cabello said that no employee or personal information was compromised in this attack.


The police, fire, utilities as well as health departments were deliberately isolated from this virus first, as those were believed as the most vital services for public. However, still all these departments required to work manually on May 22, 2019, and some part of May 23, 2019. By the afternoon of May 23, 2019, all computers were not fully operational.


Cabello added that the moment staff came to know about the attack on the morning of May 23, 2019, they contacted the Police about the same. The police then contacted the cybersecurity division of FBI along with Homeland security investigations.


Cabello further said that for double checking the work and for taking a holistic way to the problem, the Laredo City has also hired SecuLore Solution, an IT consultant, on board.


Besides, Texas Municipal League provides insurance specifically for the ransomware issues to the Laredo City. Rafael Benavides, the City spokesperson, said that they were preparing in case this kind of scenario happens. He added that the insurance actually helped the Laredo City to get back its information. If the Laredo City does not have this insurance, then the City has to pay ransom and get feds further involved.


Homero Vazquez, the IT Director, said that system is backed up every night by Laredo City, and therefore, they will be successful in restoring all their history.


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