A majority of the servers in the City of Baltimore’s IT network were shut down Tuesday after it was infected with a virus, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said.
Young described the attack as ransomware, which uses encryption to make systems inaccessible. Attackers then demand a payment to turn access back over.
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.
— Mayor Bernard C. Jack Young (@mayorbcyoung) May 7, 2019
Though many servers were shut down, Young said essential services such as police, fire, EMS and 311 were still operating.
“City employees are working diligently to determine the source and extent of the infection,” Young said in a statement. “At this time, we have seen no evidence that any personal data has left the system.”
At the Baltimore Department of Public Works, a tweet said that an email outage was first evident this morning. In turn, the email outage also took down phone lines, leaving the department unable to take calls about water billing issues.
The department also said that employees of the city’s finance department were outside the Abel Wolman Municipal Building, which is located near City Hall, instructing citizens that it was not accepting cash.
Employees of the City's Finance Department are out front of the Abel Wolman Municipal Building telling people that, due to the network outage, they can't conduct business or pay bills today with cash. Check and money orders only.
— BaltimoreDPW (@BaltimoreDPW) May 7, 2019
Baltimore also faced a cyber attack in 2018, when a ransomware attack infected the city’s 911 system. In that case, the system was back online within 17 hours.