Baltimore City Government Faces Ransomware Attack

Illustration of cybercrime (Photo credit should read "HELMUT FOHRINGER/APA-PictureDesk via AFP") Helmut Fohringer / APA-PictureDesk / APA
HELMUT FOHRINGER/APA-PictureDesk via AFP

The Baltimore City government computer system fell victim to a ransomware attack this week, marking the second time this has happened in just over a year.

The Baltimore Sun reports that the city government’s computer system has once again fallen victim to a ransomware attack for the second time in over a year. A spokesman for Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young stated: “Employees are working diligently to locate the source and extent of the infection.”

The spokesperson stated that many of the cities critical systems such as the 911 and 311 emergency services systems were not affected, but most of the city’s servers had been shut down. As a result of the server outage, a City Council committee was forced to cancel a hearing on gun violence and water customers were unable to have their billing questions answered.

The spokesperson stated that the ransomware was quarantined by Tuesday afternoon but that the full scale of the problem, or how it was caused, was not yet known. A spokesperson for the FBI’s Baltimore office, Dave Fitz, stated that agents from the FBI’s cybersecurity squad were assisting in the investigation.

Don Norris, a professor emeritus at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, who previously surveyed local government leaders about computer system security in 2016 noted that this was a recurring issue and showed just how hard it is for municipal governments to keep computer networks secure. “You’ve got increasingly sophisticated and very persistent bad guys out there looking for any vulnerability they can find and local governments, including Baltimore, who either don’t have the money or don’t spend it to properly protect their assets,” said Norris. “I’m not surprised that it happened and I won’t be surprised when it happens again.”

The city of Baltimore has faced a tough time in recent months, with Mayor Catherine Pugh resigning just last week following an investigation into whether she arranged the bulk sale of her self-published children’s book to hide hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks. Read Breitbart News’ article on that situation here. 

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or email him at lnolan@breitbart.com

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