A ransomware attack on the Dallas city government that was discovered Wednesday morning has made some police operations more difficult, Chief Eddie Garcia said in a statement Thursday afternoon.
Garcia said police services continue as usual, but department operations have been significantly impacted by the outage, NBCDFW reports.
"We want to ensure the public even with these internal difficulties, police response continues across the city," Garcia said. "Regardless of the uphill battles, our men and women will always answer calls for service. Public safety remains our top priority."
Garcia said the department's computer-assisted dispatch and field-based reporting system are down and tasks are being performed manually until the applications can be brought back online. The department's website continues to be down along with internal share drives and other internal personnel applications.
A police spokesperson said 911 calls are still going through. The information is handwritten, then dispatched over the radio. But they are trained for situations like this, and response times are not impacted.
City officials said work is being done to isolate the ransomware, prevent its spread, remove it from infected servers and restore any services impacted.
"We are heartened to know that the newly implemented systems helped to identify and assist in containing the attack and our plans and procedures are being used to address this critical incident," said Dallas City Council Member Cara Mendelsohn in a statement.
Printers on the City of Dallas network reportedly began printing out ransom notes on Wednesday morning. As per a copy the note, the Royal ransomware gang has claimed responsibility for the attack, and a URL included on the note directed to a contact form on Royal's dark web victims site. The note said critical data was encrypted, and threatened to publish it online if a ransom demand is not met, TechCrunch reports.
The Royal ransomware gang first emerged in early 2022, and was recently the subject of a joint advisory released by CISA and the FBI. The U.S. government agencies warned that the group has targeted multiple victims both in the U.S. and internationally, including manufacturing, communications, education and healthcare organizations.