Several public services in Dallas have been affected by a recent hacking incident, which has caused the closure of courts and the offline status of emergency services websites, officials announced on Thursday.
The City of Dallas stated that the courts were shut down on Wednesday and would remain closed on Thursday. Although emergency services to residents were claimed to be unaffected, the police and fire service home pages were not accessible as of Thursday, and a police representative revealed that the city’s computer-aided dispatch system was also impacted.
Dallas city officials refused to answer questions from Reuters but stated that updates would be provided shortly. A Dallas fire official referred inquiries to the city.
According to Dallas officials, the cause of the incident was ransomware, which is a form of malware utilized by hackers to encrypt data and immobilize networks until an extortion payment is made, generally in digital currency.
Two security researchers familiar with the matter reported that the ransomware operation behind the Dallas hack is known as Royal. US officials link the group to the Conti gang of cybercriminals, who are believed to operate out of Russia and have connections to Russian intelligence.
Bleeping Computer, a cybersecurity news site, disclosed earlier that the hackers hijacked Dallas city printers to print out their ransom notes.
Conti and related groups have been of particular concern since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, given worries that Moscow could encourage cybercriminals to pressure Ukraine’s Western backers.
The US government offered a reward of up to $15 million for information on Conti in May 2022, claiming that it was responsible for hundreds of ransomware attacks. Royal has come under growing scrutiny. The US Health and Human Services Department reported in January that Royal’s hackers posed a “significant threat” to US healthcare providers. CISA, the US cybersecurity watchdog agency, warned in March that the group was targeting critical infrastructure providers and demanding ransoms of up to $11 million.
Contact information for the Royal hackers was not immediately available, according to Reuters. On Thursday, their darknet website did not seem to be loading properly. CISA and the FBI did not respond to requests for comment right away.
Ransomware incidents have caused significant harm to US businesses, organizations, and local authorities, notably in Atlanta, which was held hostage by hackers for several days in 2018, and Baltimore, which was attacked by online extortionists the following year. Both incidents cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
The scope of the damage in Dallas has yet to be fully determined. According to city officials, Dallas Water Utilities has postponed readings, while a spokesperson for the Dallas Public Library, Melissa Dease, reported that the catalog was unavailable and access to back office systems had been disrupted.
Library users, however, may still check out materials manually, Dease stated, adding “You know, old school.”
Bankruptcy looms for Maureen Badejo
Recall that Maureen Badejo was slammed with a punitive damages in the sum of £100,000.00 by the UK court for defaming Dr Daniel Olukoya, the General Overseer of Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries (MFM) and his wife Pastor Mrs Folashade Olukoya.
Unfortunately for Maureen Badejo, she has not been able to pay a dime out of the damages to the Olukoyas since the court gave the verdict in 2021. Her failed attempt to appeal the said judgment which appeal court described as pointless and hopeless only complicated her case as interests in the judgment sum kept mounting which has now left the lawyer to the Olukoyas with no option than to file for Bankruptcy against her.
At the resumed hearing of the Bankcourt application today, Maureen Badejo claimed not to have received the legal papers for her bankruptcy petition even though same had been served on her and evidence was presented that she had been served. The court has however in its magnanimity given her one last reprieve and ordered a hearing be fixed for the first open date after 14 days.
Maureen Badejo has now offered Dr Daniel Olukoya £1000.00 per month. She is basically saying she needs 100 months (about 9 years) to pay her damages to the Olukoya’s.
The offer was without hesitation rejected by the lawyers to the Olukoyas as wholly unsatisfactory.
By Femi Oyewale
Governor Sanwo-Olu invites DSS to join investigation into Mohbad’s death
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has extended an invitation to the Department of Security Services (DSS) to collaborate in the ongoing investigation into the tragic death of the late singer, Ilerioluwa Aloba, popularly known as Mohbad.
This announcement was conveyed through an official statement signed by Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, on Tuesday.
Mohbad, a former signee of Naira Marley’s Marlian Records, passed away last Tuesday at the age of 27, leaving his family, friends, and fans in mourning.
In the statement, the Lagos State government expressed its heartfelt condolences to Mohbad’s family and fans, acknowledging the profound loss of a young and promising talent in the fiercely competitive music industry.
The statement read,
- “We feel the pains of losing such a talented and promising young man, who made a name for himself in a highly competitive industry. May the Almighty grant his soul rest and comfort his bereaved family and fans.”
In a concerted effort to ensure a thorough and comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mohbad’s untimely death, Governor Sanwo-Olu has taken the initiative to involve the Department of Security Services (DSS).
The aim is to widen the scope of the inquiry through inter-agency collaboration and the utilization of state-of-the-art technology to uncover the truth.
Governor Sanwo-Olu has issued a directive that all individuals who may have played any role in events leading up to Mohbad’s tragic death be held accountable and face legal consequences after a meticulous investigation.
The inclusion of the DSS in the investigation underscores the determination of the Lagos State government to achieve transparency and justice in the inquiry, with a commitment to bringing those responsible to account.
The state government also implores anyone who possesses vital information that could assist the investigative process to come forward and share their insights with the investigative team.
Furthermore, the government emphasizes the need for the investigating team to guarantee the confidentiality and protection of all witnesses who may provide essential information or indicative evidence to aid the process.
Meanwhile, in response to Mohbad’s passing, his management announced a candlelight procession and tribute night to honour the late artist.
The move comes as fans and sympathizers continue to call for a thorough investigation into the cause of his death.
The management expressed gratitude for the outpouring of love from fans worldwide and those who have organized events in their communities to pay respects to Mohbad. They invited everyone to join them in the candlelight procession and tribute concert to remember and celebrate the artist’s life.
University of Lagos Associate Professor accused of rape by female undergraduate
In a disturbing development, a female undergraduate student, whose identity has been withheld, has come forward with allegations of rape against an Associate Professor in the Department of Botany at the University of Lagos, Akoka.
The accused lecturer has been identified as Dr Akeem Kadiri, as the victim alleged that the incident took place during a visit to Dr Kadiri’s office to address concerns related to her academic results.
Instead of addressing her academic issues, the undergraduate alleged that Dr. Kadiri sexually assaulted her on August 16, 2023.
As expected, the victim reported the incident to the Inclusive Social Welfare and Empowerment Foundation (InclusiveSWEF), a non-governmental organization.
InclusiveSWEF subsequently filed a formal complaint with the Gender Unit of the state police command and in a swift response to the issue, the Officer in Charge of the Gender Unit secured a warrant of arrest for Dr Akeem Kadiri through the state High Court.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos has also been brought into the investigation.
Confirming the incident, Benjamin Hundeyin, the State Police Public Relations Officer, stated, “He is to appear in court in the coming days.”
The University of Lagos has acknowledged the ongoing investigation and in a statement by the spokesperson/Head of the Information Unit for Unilag, Mrs Adejoke Alaga-Ibraheem, said,
- “UNILAG Management, on August 28, received a letter from the Nigeria Police Force, inviting an employee of the university for questioning. The employee was immediately informed of the development and advised to comply.”
She further added,
- “On August 29, the employee complied. While we are not yet privy to the full details of the incident that led to the arrest of the employee, we are fully aware that the investigation is ongoing, and we are cooperating with security agencies to ensure that the matter is resolved in the interest of justice.”
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