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May 11, 2019

FBI Described Aggressive Ransomware puts Baltimore in Stone Age

We reported three days ago that the city of Baltimore has been infected with Robbinhood. Although city services are no longer are being affected, hackers are still accessing the system, according to Mayor Jack Young.

“These people are so sophisticated that their job is just to disrupt,” Young said. “I wish they would use it for more good than they are for just bad in trying to extort money from cities and companies. It’s just not right.”

No longer being affected is a relative term as Baltimore seems to have gone back to the stone age – or at least to the days before computers.

“No city services have been affected. People were able to get their cars at the towing yard, people come in and pay in cash or money orders or they can mail their payments in. So all the city is functioning. We’re doing it a different way and the citizens of Baltimore are not being affected we just cannot get emails and those kinds of things,” Young said. “We are moving forward and citizens should not notice anything other than they have to come in and do things manually.”

The mayor said city employees are still working and the only change for them is they cannot access computers.

The ransomware attack is also impacting nonprofits tied into the system, like the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter.

"We have no phones, no computers and no email, which is a detriment to our shelter. That's how we communicate with the public. That's how we get animals adopted," BARCS spokeswoman Bailey Deacon said.

BARCS is seeking computer donations. Some employees are working from their personal laptops. BARCS has set up new Gmail accounts.

As for the ransom, Young said they won’t be paying.

In a news conference, the City’s Chief of Information Technology said that the FBI has confirmed this is a very aggressive ransomware.

Almost always, ransomware is spread via an employee clicking on a link – likely through email.

Cybersecurity awareness training like phishing simulation, testing and education offered via a solution like PHISH360 can help a great deal.

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