BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A ransomware attack has crippled some of Baltimore’s computer network and it’s affecting how some residents pay their bills.

Baltimore City officials said it could be weeks before they regain control of the computer systems that are currently under a cyber attack.

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The FBI has confirmed this is an aggressive cyber attack unleashed on the City’s network, and now people may have to go back to paying their bills with the old school method.

When residents try to pay a bill online, a message pops up from the finance department- saying you’ll have to mail in payments or show up downtown to pay in person and only with money orders or checks.

“That’s super old school. Everyone pays everything online, so that’s a little concerning and inconvenient,” said Ketina Moussignac, Baltimore resident.

“I actually don’t know how to pay my water bill outside of online. Millenial thing to say I know, but…” said Brian Haedrich, another resident.

Newly installed City Council President Brandon Scott is reassuring citizens that city business continues while law enforcement searches for a fix.

“So we know that this is a culture shock to us, but we can still function as a city. The services, people’s trash are still being picked up, the alleys are still being cleaned. There are 311 calls being answered, the 911 calls are being answered.” Scott said.

A report from CNN said ransomware attacks are on the rise. Cities are sometimes no match for the unseen cyber force.

“The bad guys see state and local governments as a target that is willing to pay and that they may be able to get a lot of money out of, if nothing else, they may be able to get a lot of new coverage out of.” A CNN expert said.

From a small town in Alaska to the metropolis of Atlanta, cities are having to rebuild their networks if they don’t pay the ransom to people who are holding their systems hostage.

Here in Baltimore City, officials have not said just how much money the hackers want, and they are working with the FBI to track down whoever is responsible.

Scott said the mayor is very clear that they are not paying a ransom.

The City’s finance department said any late fees that are related to their online system will be waived.

Once again, if you are someone who wants to pay those bills, you have to mail it or show up downtown. The Municipal Building is located at 200 Holliday Street.

Ava-joye Burnett

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