National Cybersecurity Awareness Month may have ended on October 31, 2023, but concerns over malicious (and often costly) cyber activity certainly have not. Apprehension appears to be on the rise as more public and private sector organizations fall victim to cyberattacks. Among them are state and local governments, school systems, hospitals, utilities, and retailers, to name a few. 

The latest to join the unfortunate ranks, according to one GovTech article, is Clark County, Nevada, the fifth largest school system in the country. It is there that “hackers claim to have access to its network still as they seek a monetary payout in exchange for deleting stolen student data.” In other words, a ransomware attack. 

Ransomware, as explained by the Cybersecurity Infrastructure & Security Agency (CISA), is “an ever-evolving form of malware designed to encrypt files on a device, rendering any files and the systems that rely on them, unusable. Malicious actors then demand ransom in exchange for decryption.” The organization exists to help individuals and organizations prevent attacks that can severely impact business processes and leave organizations without the data they need to operate and deliver mission-critical services. 

Another new cyber victim was the County of Dallas, Texas. Officials there recently announced that the ransomware group, Play, claimed on the dark web to be in possession of sensitive county information. Fortunately, the county’s IT staff interrupted the attempt and “effectively prevented any encryption of its files or systems.”

The ransomware attack on Dallas County, Texas, is the third in the state in less than a year. In November 2022, there was an attack on the Dallas Central Appraisal District. And in May 2023, an attack was set upon the City of Dallas itself. Both were incredibly