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Dallas to Pay $4M for Cyber Attack Detection System

The system would alert the city's information technology department of possible cyber attacks and other threats.

A digital image of a lock on a screen next to lines of code.
The Dallas City Council approved a nearly $4 million deal Wednesday to get a new system that alerts the city’s information technology department of possible cyber attacks. The approval comes as the city is nearly two months into its recovery from a ransomware attack.

The City Council, without discussion, voted to ask Houston-based technology service provider Netsync Network Solutions to help the city get a threat and anomaly detection system for Dallas Information and Technology Services for three years. City documents refer to the purchase as a system upgrade that will include security monitoring 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

“This equipment and associated services will be crucial to protecting the city’s network from cyber threats and hacks by alerting the department of Information and Technology Services’ security operations center to threats and abnormalities on the city network,” according to a city document. “This solution will aid in protecting the city’s network and systems against internal and external cyber threats to the organization, including potential ransomware.”

A week before the May 3 ransomware attack, the city council approved a three-year, more than $873,000 contract with Netsync for the group to help the city get a threat detection option for devices such as city servers and employees’ desktops and laptop computers.

City Communications Director Catherine Cuellar declined Wednesday to give any update on the city’s latest progress in its ransomware recovery. She said any new information from the city would be posted to its public website, which hasn’t been done since Friday when the city announced its public library online system was back up for the first time since the May 3 attack.

Later Wednesday, Cuellar told the Dallas Morning News the new system was part of the city expanding its existing cybersecurity services since the attack.

“In addition, we have taken additional steps to further enhance our security posture, including implementing additional cybersecurity software, deploying a system-wide reset of all user accounts, expediting the implementation of additional controls and completely rebuilding impacted systems in a new, secure environment,” she said.

Dallas officials said earlier this month that the work to restore systems and services citywide was more than 90 percent complete. IT workers have had to review, clean, rebuild and restore computers and servers since the cyber attack last month, according to the city.

Officials have also suggested using part of a proposed $1 billion bond package that voters could be asked to approve in 2024 to upgrade Dallas’ IT system in the wake of the ransomware attack.

©2023 The Dallas Morning News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.