Dallas police are struggling to access physical and digital evidence amid an ongoing ransomware attack that is disrupting trials.
The consequences played out Thursday in a murder trial, where a man was found guilty despite evidence being unavailable to jurors or lawyers. Last week, a jury couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict in another murder trial, where police were unable to produce a phone or shell casings, the Dallas Morning News reports.
The ransomware attack initiated by the group Royal on the city of Dallas has stretched into a third week, downing several departments. The city has said it could take weeks or months until services are fully restored.
Royal threatened Friday that it would leak all the data.
“We will share here in our blog tons of personal information of employees (phones, addresses, credit cards, SSNs, passports), detailed court cases, prisoners, medical information, clients’ information and thousands and thousands of governmental documents,” the post said. As of Friday morning, no city information has appeared on the website, which lists at least several dozen other organizations the group claims to have taken data from, such as the Lake Dallas Independent School District.
The FBI said it can’t confirm whether the website that features the threat against Dallas is authentic.
FBI Dallas said this is typically a tactic used by a group when they haven’t yet received what they wanted, like money. Melinda Urbina, an agency spokeswoman, declined to comment specifically on Dallas’ case other than to say a criminal investigation is ongoing.
“What we always tell people that have been victims of ransomware is to not pay the ransom because there’s never any guarantees that they won’t release data or that they aren’t still in your system,” she told The Dallas Morning News. “You’re trusting a bad guy to be honest with you.”