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Critical city services in Dallas still dealing with ransomware attack

By J.D. Miles

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    DALLAS (KTVT) — Nine hours – that’s how long some Dallas police officers spent at the Dallas County Jail on Wednesday instead of answering calls all because of this week’s cyber attack.

City leaders say they believe they have isolated the problem, but they have a lot of work to do restore systems properly. Sources told CBS News Texas that the city is closer to removing the ransomware without paying demands.

“We did have some officers who were stuck at the jail for over nine hours when the original shut down happened because we weren’t sure exactly what they could do and what they couldn’t do on their computers,” said Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata.

Mata says the computer issues also mean some people were issued citations instead of being arrested for minor offenses like shoplifting.

Meanwhile, Dallas Fire-Rescue says its crews has had to use physical maps to drive ladder trucks and ambulances to emergencies.

“We’re flipping through map books or using our phones to get there,” said Dallas Firefighters Association President Jim McDade. “They are just sending us all over the place and that’s definitely impacting service delivery without a doubt.”

While the city’s 911 system is still up and running, dispatchers have to write down urgent information and communicate to officers and fire rescue crews over radios.

In two updates released to the public on the cyber attacks, the City of Dallas said both times that DPD and DFR service was unaffected and continuing as usual. But the 3,100 officers with the Dallas Police Association say that’s not exactly true.

Even Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia said in a statement that his department has been significantly impacted.

Police and fire leaders say they are frustrated because the city spent $500,000 on an internal audit last year that recommended separate hard drives and servers for public safety.

But city courts, social services, libraries and even the animal shelter were still connected when the cyber attack by Royal seized control.

First responders say they can only depend on their pre-computer age training and contingency plans for so long.

“Back when we used to do it this way we were nowhere near as busy as we are now,” said McDade. “So on top of being incredibly busy now with potential storms moving in, it’s a recipe for a big problem right now.”

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