Civic News
Cybersecurity / Municipal government

The City of Baltimore was hit by a ransomware attack

A "majority" of the city's servers were down as a result of the attack, said Mayor Young.

Baltimore City Hall. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

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.

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.

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.


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