Dallas resident has been unable to install a simple wooden fence around his home for more than 5 weeks
Briefly about how cyber attacks on urban infrastructure can affect the lives of ordinary people.
It’s been more than two months since the Dallas city grid paralyzed by a cyberattack but the locals are still feeling its effects. Ordinary citizens who apply for city services face problems and delays that they could not have imagined before the cyber attack.
So, a 33-year-old American named Blake Smith applied to replace the fence around his house in early June, but has not yet received permission from the city. Usually, the approval procedure takes from one to three days, because Smith plans to change the fence with the help of hired contractors, and the help of public utilities is not required for this. But even a simple agreement dragged on for 5 weeks due to the intervention of the Royal hacker group in city systems.
“They blame it on a ransomware virus. I didn’t know there was a problem with this at all until I called about the delay. It’s annoying,” the man said.
Dallas city officials said that in the two months following the cyberattack, local experts were able to restore 97% of networks, up from 90% last month. However, for security reasons, the authorities are still not disclosing all the services affected by the attack, leaving residents like Blake Smith without any warning of possible difficulties and delays in accessing city services.
According to the city, Smith’s application is one of about 300 similar applications for permits to install fences, roof replacements, foundation repairs and demolitions that have been delayed due to issues related to the cyberattack.
As of June 30, there were even more such applications – as many as 870, according to city officials, but development staff worked overtime and on weekends to close the backlog. The main reason for the delays is problems with the city’s mapping software and the inability of staff to access internal shared drives.
Catherine Cuellar, the city’s director of communications, outreach and marketing, said permit applications, such as new fences, will now be processed within one to three business days, as before. While the staff is also working to clear the blockage with other applications where people have been waiting for several weeks. Cuellar assured the public that all old applications must be cleared by July 17th.
“I have never waited weeks for permission to install a regular fence,” said Ismael Soriano, the contractor for the aforementioned Blake Smith, whom the latter hired to replace the old mesh fence with a tall wooden fence.
However, it seems that city employees are really doing their best to speed up the recovery process. Note that during the first weeks experienced significant problems such as fire departments and police. Dispatchers were forced to write down all the information literally on a piece of paper and manually transfer it to colleagues, which caused delays and all sorts of confusion. It is clear that all the forces of specialists were directed there in the first place.
Harmless and funny, at first glance, the case of the installation of a wooden fence, however, emphasizes the importance of protecting information systems and the need to take appropriate measures to ensure proper security of urban infrastructure. Only this will ensure the smooth functioning and satisfaction of the needs of citizens.