BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City Hall government servers have been infected by a ransomware virus that government officials said is spreading throughout their network.
Mayor Jack Young released a statement confirming the issue.
“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.”
He said at this time no personal data has left their system.
They later said employees of the City’s Finance Department are out front of the Abel Wolman Municipal building saying due to the network outage, they cannot conduct business or pay bills Tuesday with cash. They added that check and money orders only will work.
Newly sworn-in City Council president Brandon Scott tweeted a statement on the IT issues as well.
Michael Greenberger, a homeland security expert, said that the culprits are usually after money.
“Someone attacks the computer systems and encrypts all the data on it so that it’s unreadable and there you are stuck with your computer system and all your files,” Greenberger said.
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.
“I tried to pay a couple of tickets and they said this billing has been shut down ever since 7 o’clock this morning,” one resident said.