Apr 16, 2024 - News

Hackers post sensitive information on dark web

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A hacking group claiming responsibility for attacking the Tarrant Appraisal District network has reportedly posted some of the stolen information on the dark web.

Why it matters: About 15 million people lost $23 million last year to traditional identity theft, per an AARP report.

The big picture: Medusa has claimed responsibility in the past for attacks on Toyota Financial Services, a Kenyan airline and several school districts.

  • The attacks are typically followed by ransom demands and threats to post sensitive information online.
  • Ransomware gangs collected a record $1.1 billion from attacks in 2023.

What happened: The Tarrant Appraisal District identified a "network disruption" on March 21. Its website was partially down for a few weeks while officials investigated the attack and tried to restore access.

  • Hackers demanded $700,000 from the district, according to the Star-Telegram.
  • The website's search features have been restored, but investigators found that "the legally protected personal information" of up to 300 people was compromised during the attack.

Threat level: Some of the district's forms ask for driver's license information, a Social Security number or federal tax ID number, per the Star-Telegram.

  • The homestead exemption form also requires a copy of the applicant's ID, along with their date of birth and contact information.
  • The district's website has appraisal information for the public to access, but it doesn't include personal information collected through the exemption process.

What's next: The Tarrant Appraisal District said in a statement that it's working on bolstering its network security and has notified the people whose information is believed to be stolen.

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