BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The ransomware attack crippling Baltimore is nearing its third week.

Tuesday, Mayor Jack Young said that there is no timeframe for when the city’s computer system may be fully functional.

“We’re making progress right now, as we speak, programming pieces that we have,” Young said. “We’re not completely there yet.”

Officials learned that a key component of the malware was developed at NSA Headquarters and it’s been exploited by hackers to freeze government computer systems in Baltimore.

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“This was a virus that was a smart virus,” Young said. “Anytime NSA does something, they do it well. I just hope that have the key so we can get out of this.”

NSA created the secret spy tool at its Fort Meade Headquarters, but lost control of it in 2017. The federal agency later released patches to protect against the virus, but some cities are still susceptible.

“This is a big, complicated, offensive weapon in cyber warfare that was never intended to attack smallish cities like Baltimore, but is now loose on the dark web,” cybersecurity expert Michael Greenberger said. “Anybody can pick it up, use it and just cause havoc.”

Greenberger said UMB and other Universities and agencies around Maryland have volunteered to help restore the systems.

“This massive amount of cyber brainpower that resides in this area has to be brought to bear on this to help the city,” Greenberger said.

City leaders said Tuesday they are considering outside help. Currently, there are two teams working; one on forensics, and one on recovery coinciding with a federal investigation into the hack.

Baltimore’s U.S. Congressional Delegation said it wants a full briefing from the intelligence community to understand what happened and why.

Mayor Young said Tuesday that paying ransom to hackers is not an option. He also said he’s asked leaders in other cities to do the same.

Kimberly Eiten

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