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Feds join investigation into ongoing Dallas cyberattack, city officials say

An American and Texas flag sit at half-staff outside of the Dallas Police Department headquarters.
Tony Gutierrez
An American and Texas flag sit at half-staff outside of the Dallas Police Department headquarters, July 8, 2016, in Dallas. Dallas was hit with a computer ransomware attack that affected various websites, including the police department and municipal court, officials said Wednesday, May 3, 2023.

The city says there's an ongoing criminal investigation into the ransomware attack on May 3. So far, there's no evidence that city or resident data was compromised.

Dallas officials say the city is working closely with federal and state law enforcement after the city was the target of a ransomware attack by a hacker group called Royal last week.

The attack caused the city to take down some public-facing websites to avoid the spread of ransomware virus throughout the network as part of a quarantine measure, according to the city's chief information officer. Both City Hall and the Dallas Police Department’s websites were down for at least three days.

"As of Sunday, we actually have restored both the Dallas Police Department's website at as well as the city's public facing website at," CIO William Zielinski told the council’s Public Safety Committee Monday.

The website for Dallas Fire Rescue was also back up as of Monday afternoon.

The city's online services were down for several days following the May 3 ransomware attack, which Zielinski said impacted systems throughout the city's network.

Zielenski added that Dallas is working with external cybersecurity professionals to remediate the attack.

The city confirmed in an email that a ransom note allegedly sent by the hackers had been published by some media outlets. The city is asking residents not to go to the URL that's included in the note.

The city was still in the process of restoring computer-assisted dispatch services after the attack, which also impacted emergency response. Call-takers had to manually write down instructions for officers in the field. Officers were only able to respond through their phones and radios.

Zielinski did not comment on the specific method or means of the attack to avoid impeding the investigation or exposing critical information that can be exploited by Royal. He said he could only answer specific questions from the committee during a closed executive session, which lasted a little less than an hour.

Before closing, Councilmember Cara Mendelsohn said the attack underscores the underinvestment in the city's information technology services.

"We seem to have a lot of incidences with public safety," she said. "I hope that we'll begin to look at that after we recover from this incident."

Councilmember Gay Donnell Willis also mentioned the need to include technology in a proposed bond program.

"I think our city needs to take a really hard look at having technology be a category in that and I think that this underscores that need and that our residents would give that a hard look in a positive way," Willis said.

Mendelsohn said the attack was tough for many public safety officers and 311 call takers.

"A lot of people have sort of rolled with the punches but we’ve got to make sure we don't go through this again," she said.

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Pablo Arauz Peña is the Growth and Infrastructure Reporter for KERA News.