BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Technicians are still working as the Baltimore City Government continues to be affected by a ransomware attack that happened Tuesday.
The City’s computer network’s files are unusable as a result.
Councilman Leon Pinkett took to Twitter on Wednesday to say the city email servers and office phones were still shut down. He clarified that the numbers 311 and 911 were still operational.
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Pinkett advised anyone who needed assistance to email District7Matters@gmail.com.
Mayor Jack Young released a statement confirming the issue Tuesday.
“Baltimore City core essential services (police, fire, EMS and 311) are still operational but it has been determined that the city’s network has been infected with a ransomware virus. City employees are working diligently to determine the source and extent of the infection. At this time, we have seen no evidence that any personal data has left the system. Out of an abundance of precaution, the city has shut down the majority of its servers. We will provide updates as information becomes available.”
Frank Johnson, Baltimore City’s Chief Information Officer and IT Director, joined Mayor Young in a new conference on Wednesday.
“We can say with confidence that public safety systems are up and operational, 311 is operating, the city phones are operating,” Johnson said.
Federal investigators asked the city to stay tight-lipped about details of the hack.
“Unfortunately there’s a race between the bad actors and the cybersecurity industry,” Johnson said. “Just as they know how to mitigate and keep the bad things out the bad guys go one step ahead of them in this vicious race.”
Ransomware blocks users from their files and demands payment to unblock them.
Mayor Young said the city won’t be blackmailed.
“No, I would not pay a ransom to anybody,” Young said.
All city employees are at work whether they can do their jobs or not. Mayor Young also has an alternative in mind.
“If we are in this for longer than we anticipate, I will be asking city employees who really can’t do their work because of the computer systems would they be willing to go out and help us clean up the city,” Young said.
It is unclear when the computer network would be back in use.
In 2016, hackers took over MedStar Health’s database.
In March of last year, a similar attack compromised Baltimore’s 911 operations for more than 17 hours.
For this recent cyber take-over, one of the biggest inconvenience to residents has been not being able to pay bills.