One CIO’s Primer on the Evolving Ransomware Threat

Texas Chief Information Officer Todd Kimbriel explains his approach to ransomware in light of recent attacks on the public sector.

by , / May 4, 2018

State chief information officers had a lot to say about recent government-focused ransomware attacks when they gathered at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) Midyear conference at the end of last month. Freshest on their minds were the incidents in Colorado, Baltimore and Atlanta, in which a $51,000 ransomware demand led to more than $2.5 million in contracts to respond.

The federated IT environment in Texas limits CIO Todd Kimbriel's direct responsibility should a state agency be hit with ransomware, though as he explains, "We do have some enterprise cybersecurity responsibility." In the video above, he outlines the nature of recent attacks, which he describes as "alarming," in that they demonstrate the growing sophistication of ransomware — a threat tech leaders previously could combat with robust backups. 

"Of course when we came to understand exactly what the details were, we immediately worked with all of our agencies to ensure that we had all of those backup environments protected and made sure that the vulnerabilities that were taken advantage of against others could not be taken advantage of against us," Kimbriel added. 

Noelle Knell Editor

Government Technology editor Noelle Knell has more than 15 years of writing and editing experience, covering public projects, transportation, business and technology. A California native, she has worked in both state and local government, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history. She can be reached via email and on Twitter.

Lauren Harrison Managing Editor

Lauren Harrison is the managing editor for Government Technology magazine. She has a degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and more than 10 years’ experience in book and magazine publishing.