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Ransomware Attack at Dallas Central Appraisal District Enters Third Week

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The Dallas Central Appraisal District says it does not know when its website will come back online after a ransomware attack earlier this month.

The effects of the cyberattack entered its third week Wednesday with the DCAD website remaining offline but now redirecting to a state-mandated landing page counties must link to when setting the tax rate.

Cheryl Jordan with the Dallas Central Appraisal District said IT employees are working around the clock to rebuild databases and get the website functional again.

“And as we also try to deal with the bad actors,” Jordan said. “They’ve kind of locked us down, basically. And just encrypted everything where we can’t get to it.”

Candace Evans covers the real estate scene in North Texas and says the long duration of the online outage has had an outsized impact on realtors who typically rely on the DCAD website to quickly find in-depth information on property ownership.

“It’s giving everyone more headaches, more work and slowing the whole process down,” Evans said. “They’re down to working on paper.”

Ransomware attacks typically begin when someone within a targeted organization unsuspectingly clicks on a link that contains malicious code. The goal is to have the compromised organization pay a ransom in order to regain access to its data.

A variety of organizations have been targeted in recent years including hospitals, financial institutions and school districts.

Jordan adds the Dallas County tax office is not affected so homeowners who need to pay property taxes before the Jan. 31 deadline, can still do so.

“People filing homestead exemptions, they’re just going to have to turn them in,” Jordan said. “We have an online version, but obviously that’s not working.”

Jordan said it is still unclear how the ransomware attack started at DCAD, which was publicly disclosed on Nov. 8.

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