Cyberattack Takes Baltimore Hostage for the Third Time
Baltimore City has been experiencing a bit of déjà vu for the last couple of weeks. The city has fallen victim to a ransomware cyberattack for the third time crippling its government computers. This marks the second attack in the span of 15 months. On May 7, around 10,000 government-owned computers were digitally confiscated by hackers using ransomware known as “RobbinHood”. These hackers demanded $100,000 in Bitcoin (13 bitcoins) for the release of every seized system. According to the hacker’s note released by the Baltimore Sun, the ransom would increase if not paid within 4 days and the data would be deleted forever after 10 days of no response. Currently, we have passed the two-week point meaning both deadlines are up- Baltimore still refuses to pay.
The attacks have presented many major issues for the city of Baltimore and its citizens so far. Residents have been unable to access government websites to make payments on things such as bills, taxes, and tickets. Likewise, city employees have lost access to their email accounts and the real estate market is suffering due to sale finalization issues. While we don’t know for sure what the outcome will be when all is said and done, Baltimore will most likely have to fork up more than the demanded $100,000 to repair their system. As more and more cities across the country are falling victim to hackers, we are seeing the repercussions of each attack. The choice is either conform to their demands and pay what is requested, or don’t give in and risk a much higher cost in the long run hiring someone to fix the issue.
So far, the Baltimore Mayor has not given much information besides the fact that they are “well into the restorative process” and have “engaged leading industry cybersecurity experts who are on-site 24-7 working with us.” He has also come out and said that the attack will no doubt require some rebuilding on their part, making one wonder why they didn’t just pay to have the ransomware removed in the first place. Since refusing to pay didn’t work the first two times the city was attacked, paying the requested amount may have been the correct decision.
In the end, the Mayor didn’t release a timeline for when the systems will come back to life but ensured everyone that they are working around the clock with the help of the FBI to resolve the issue at hand. Baltimore plans to avoid attacks in the future by analyzing this latest cyberattack, but after 3 major attacks, one would think that the issue would have been resolved by now.
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