The city of Dallas said on May 3 that it’s in the process of dealing with a successful ransomware attack launched by the Royal hacking group.

The city has confirmed that “a number of servers have been compromised with ransomware,” and said the attack impacted “several functional areas,” including the Dallas Police Department website.

In a statement, city officials said Dallas’ security monitoring tools “notified our Security Operations Center (SOC) that a ransomware attack had been launched within its environment.”

CBS News Texas obtained a copy of the ransomware note, in which the Royal hacking group claimed to be behind the exploit. In the note, the hackers said that the city’s “critical data” was “not only encrypted but also copied” and taken off the city’s network. The hackers said the data can now be published online. The perpetrators went on to make a ransom demand, but did not specify a price.

“Our vendors are on-site to assist IT management and staff in restoring functionality as soon as possible. We are encouraged the attack was limited due to newly implemented tools, but seems to have focused on public safety and servers that have impacted 311 primarily,” Dallas’ Government Performance and Financial Management Committee Chair Cara Mendelsohn and Vice Chair Gay Donnell Willis told Fox4News in a statement.

“Continued investment and updates to our IT department are needed to continue securing City of Dallas resident data and essential city records,” they said.

As a result of the attack, the city is working with vendors to isolate the ransomware to prevent its spread, remove the ransomware from infected servers, and restore any services currently impacted. While the city is still working to fully assess the impact of the attack, as of Wednesday, May 4, Dallas officials said the impact on the delivery of city services to its residents was limited.

While residents are still able to place 911 calls, the Fort Worth Star Telegram reported that the computer-assisted dispatch system was down, and dispatchers were using a backup radio system to communicate with officers. Additionally, Dallas’ 311 app was also affected by the attack. The Dallas Municipal Court is also offline, with a notice saying it is experiencing a service outage and is working to restore services. As a result, all jury trials were canceled on Wednesday and Thursday, Fox4News reported. Other city services were impacted to varying degrees, including Dallas Water Utilities and the city’s library system.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs