Crime

Dallas Central Appraisal District Systems Still Down a Week After Ransomware Attack

There's still no telling when the Dallas Central Appraisal District (DCAD) systems will be back online after a ransomware attack early last week.
There's still no telling when the Dallas Central Appraisal District (DCAD) systems will be back online after a ransomware attack early last week. בר, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
The website, servers and email for the Dallas Central Appraisal District, or DCAD, have been inaccessible after the entire system was attacked by hackers last week. DCAD, which appraises Dallas County properties for tax purposes, announced early last week on social media that it was the victim of a ransomware attack, and it was working with authorities to get everything back online as soon as possible.

“We do not currently have a definite timeframe but expect it may take several days to rectify the system,” DCAD wrote in a Facebook post. “We have followed the advice of authorities and have not contacted the perpetrator(s).”

On Monday, the system was still down, and an employee with DCAD told the Observer there weren’t any updates on the situation.

DCAD spokeswoman Cheryl Jordan wasn’t available when for comment, but she has told media outlets since the attack happened that the district has been working “around the clock” to get its system back online. An automated message that plays when calling DCAD’s office says more or less the same thing.

“The Dallas Central Appraisal District has experienced a cyber attack,” the message says. “The district’s website and systems are currently unavailable. We are working diligently to get back online. However, we cannot currently provide a date when the website will be available.”

While the DCAD website is down, the district said people can still use the state comptroller’s property tax transparency website to find property ownership and value information.

This is just one of the latest cyber attacks to hit the North Texas area in recent years. In December, a ransomware attack on Ultimate Kronos Group, a human resources company that provides timekeeping services, affected over 2,400 city of Dallas employees. Last November, 600 hours of law enforcement surveillance footage, mostly recorded by the Dallas Police Department, was leaked to the online activist group Distributed Denial of Secrets. Though this wasn’t the result of a cyber attack, just three months before the police surveillance footage leak, a city of Dallas IT employee accidentally deleted 22 terabytes of police data.
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Jacob Vaughn, a former Brookhaven College journalism student, has written for the Observer since 2018, first as clubs editor. More recently, he's been in the news section as a staff writer covering City Hall, the Dallas Police Department and whatever else editors throw his way.
Contact: Jacob Vaughn

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