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The City of Baltimore Crippled by Ransomware Attack

The City of Baltimore Crippled by Ransomware Attack

The City of Baltimore is the latest high-profile city to be hit with ransomware.

On May 7, the city was hit with a sophisticated cyberattack that crippled its computer systems. Although the city remained defiant as the ransom deadline hit, refusing to pay the ransom, Baltimore Mayor Jack Young is apparently open to working with the attackers.

The attack took down email servers and the online payment systems for water bills and traffic citations. Other systems were impaired: the phone system remains operational but voicemail is down, and permits can’t be processed online but can be obtained in person or by phone. The city developed a manual workaround to resume real estate transactions.

The city has engaged cybersecurity experts and is also working closely with the FBI on the restorative and investigative processes. If the cyberattack on the City of Atlanta can be considered an accurate gauge, the cost of these efforts will certainly be much more than the initial ransom demanded.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a cyberattack that encrypts your computer data, essentially making your systems unusable. A ransom note is left behind by the attackers, detailing their demands. This is typically an amount in bitcoin, a hard-to-trace currency that has helped fuel the damaging, worldwide ransomware phenomenon.

The attackers promise a decryption key in exchange for the payment of the ransom.

If the ransom is not paid within the typically tight deadline, the decryption keys are “tossed away,” and the victim must deal with the loss.

Sensitive data possibly shared

One tragic byproduct of a ransomware attack is the potential for sensitive data to be shared, sold, and used by the attackers for additional profit.

A cloud security firm shared what appears to be a Twitter post with account credentials and documents stolen during the Baltimore attack. Whether they’re genuine or not, the fact remains: any network breach has the potential to make available to attackers important data and information stored in your systems.

Security and user awareness need to be a business priority

As business processes continue to get further enmeshed in IT systems, and data gets more and more valuable, businesses and organizations of all sizes and types need to move network security and user awareness to the forefront of their priorities.

There is no silver bullet when it comes to securing your IT systems and protecting your users and data. Thus, multiple security layers is preferable to relying on a single piece of hardware or software to keep current and future threats from harming you.

InCare offers a comprehensive array of managed security products and services, as well as the expertise to configure, maintain, and provide ongoing proactive monitoring of your systems. From firewalls to switches, and from business continuity to advanced protection at the DNS layer, we’ll have you covered!

For the ultimate in IT management and security, contact Thrive.