BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Tuesday marks five weeks since Baltimore city’s government networks were hit by a ransomware attack.

As of Monday, the city said 65 percent of employees now have use of their computers and email, but there’s still no telling about recovery of the city’s data.

The city still can’t produce or mail water bills, leading public works officials to recommend customers saving up what they owe so when the bills do come, they don’t fall behind.

“There’s going to be some sticker shock just because this bill is going to be extra long because of the extended time,” said Jeffrey Raymond with the city’s public works department.

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Property tax bills are still set to be mailed on schedule, and the city has been manually processing real property transactions over the past few weeks.

Meanwhile, the city sheriff’s office said a district court evictions database remains down.

“As of yesterday, many of our critical data bases are back online, so we’re coming back slowly but surely,” said Maj. Sabrina Tapp-Harper with the sheriff’s office.

City cybersecurity officials were not available Tuesday for on-camera interviews, but cybersecurity expert Jeff Bathurst said the recovery price tag will be much higher than the $18 million spent so far.

He added the breach appears significant and that the city may not have an understanding as to just how far it has reached.

“When you’re offering a technology services to a constituency or a customer, you have responsibility to be able to say to them, ‘We are protecting your data. We are doing these things to ensure that we are properly since proper stewards of your information’” he said.

City officials did confirm work to recover data and applications continues and servers will be brought back online incrementally.

Bathurst said the atack and the city’s slow recovery is a lesson to other cities and businesses.

“I don’t believe this is going to be resolved anytime soon. This is going to be an arduous process,“ he said.

City officials said to expect another update Wednesday morning. They’re hoping to have 95 percent of email addresses back up by the end of next week — 45 days since the attack hit.

Paul Gessler

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