back to article A right Royal pain in the Dallas: City IT systems crippled by ransomware

The city of Dallas, Texas, is working to restore city services following a ransomware attack that crippled its IT systems. On May 3 Dallas' Information and Technology Services (ITS) said around than 200 of the US city's thousands of devices appear to be affected by the infection. ITS said it is focused on fixing compromised …

  1. ecofeco Silver badge

    Somebody was behind on their patches and updates

    Why am I not surprised?

    Having briefly worked in gov IT. I will never make that mistake again. Well, unless I'm starving and facing eviction, of course.

    1. Spamfast
      Thumb Up

      Re: Somebody was behind on their patches and updates

      Having briefly worked in gov IT. I will never make that mistake again. Well, unless I'm starving and facing eviction, of course..

      There are soup kitchens and flop houses, you know? ;-)

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Somebody was behind on their patches and updates

        Not where I live. :(

    2. ChuckM6421

      Re: Somebody was behind on their patches and updates

      7 years for me in a Fed agency with critical classified work going on. The worst came not because of some hapless, clueless Windows user or admin, but due to a lazy, self-entitled, too-cool-for-skool Linux admin who didn't update SSH. The entire facility disconnected for a couple days and terabytes of research data lost.

      There are some good ones, no question. I hope I could be considered one.

      But the bigger problem I saw was the adipose layer of middle-managers not smart enough to say anything other than 'everything's fine'. And make promises they couldn't keep.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One Network...

    I understand that various city functions may all be managed by one IT department, but why, oh why, do they appear to be on one interconnected network?

    "Dallas Water Utilities, the city said, is unable to process payments and disconnections will be suspended until service is restored. City courts are closed and cases will be rescheduled and jurors do not need to report for service. And various other agencies related to records and permits report serious delays."

    Exactly what does a billing payment system by a water utlity need to have in common with a courts booking system? Why is there any common connection at all between these?

    One can only hope the water dept kept their scada and control systems isolated from their billing systems.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      Re: One Network...

      Yes, one can hope... but don't hold your breath

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: One Network...

      The only explanation I can think of is that all of these things involve financial actions. The water department systems that aren't working are related to bills and the court system needs to collect fines and pay jurors, and many other parts of the government will have to handle some financial matter. Maybe all the financial stuff is run by one part of the city bureaucracy which has a common network. That's not necessarily a good idea, but it's also not that unusual for systems run by one organization to have less internal separation than would be desirable.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: One Network...

        "the court system needs to collect fines and pay jurors"

        That shouldn't stop cases being heard. The system being out shouldn't even jurors being paid - there are such things as cash payments and paper records.

        1. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

          Re: One Network...

          Not to mention, the typical juror makes between 6 and 60 bucks a day on jury duty in Dallas, hardly an amount worth worrying about, AND the payment is made after the duty is complete. Unless they expect it to take months to fix, this should only affect jurors who already finished their service.

        2. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: One Network...

          There are paper records for the water bills as well, but they probably don't have the level of clerical staff they did when that was normal and prefer to deal with that later rather than use the paper now.

    3. cookieMonster Silver badge

      Re: One Network...

      “ Why is there any common connection at all between these?”

      A quick guess…. Different tabs in the same excel spreadsheet??

    4. veti Silver badge

      Re: One Network...

      Just spitballing here, but they would both be based on a database of city residents. Those who pay water bills and those eligible for jury service - would not be the same lists obviously, but there must be quite a lot of overlap. If I were trying to simplify my citizens' lives, it might occur to me that a single "master" database of people could be used to power many different services.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Texas you say?

    The kingdom of Abbott and getting more corrupt by the day.

    Now they want to enable him to overturn the results of any election... Watch out for the TX government to be 100% GQP and 0% Democrat.

    Abbott is King. Down with the King.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Texas you say?

      It's not too late to ask Chuckie Wingnut to take you back, now he's got through the coronation he should have some free time.

      Or in the case of Texas, I suppose it should really be Felipe's burden.

  4. Uncle Ron

    Sure. Limited Government

    The headline says, "Texas officials preach limited government." Sure, except when it comes to unlimited intrusions into women's reproductive rights, voting rights, big business vs the little guy, minority rights, and more. In these areas, government is unlimited.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sure. Limited Government

      By women's reproductive rights, you do of course mean the right to un-reproduce. I'm pretty sure women in the US have the actual reproductive right in all states.

    2. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

      Re: Sure. Limited Government

      There are no limits to what a woman can do to her body in the US. it's when what she wants to do affects someone else's life that the problem creeps in. Rape, incest, child's viability or mother's life are legit reasons to abort. Convenience is not. Murder is illegal and court precedence already says that killing an unborn child is murder; someone who kills a pregnant woman will be charged and convicted with two murders, not one. Otherwise, she was a willing participant and should suffer the consequences of playing with the start button on the baby making machine. Don't want a kid, there's abstinence, birth control, other orifices and sterilization available. Sterilization would likely be a much easier option to get if there were a blanket ban on "changed my mind, you should have known I would" lawsuits. Adoption is always a possibility as well.

  5. FlamingDeath Silver badge

    Have they tried turning it off and on again?

    They could try the flush handle, cos working in IT is a bit like working as a janitor, right?

    It has tubes and shit, ask any bean counter or csuite, it’s kinda like a toilet, I mean it is technology after all.

    Pay peanuts get monkeys

    Don’t listen to experts, get ransomware

    You know, the experts you employed

  6. Winkypop Silver badge

    It’s Texas

    Would way more guns help?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It’s Texas

      Surely just one good guy with a gun would have prevented this from happening in the first place?

  7. Tron Silver badge

    This wouldn't happened if they had...

    ...switched to using Amigas.

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