24 May The city of Baltimore is being held hostage by ransomware
The US city of Baltimore has been partially paralyzed since 7 May, when a ransomware attack seized parts of the government’s computer systems.
As soon as the city discovered that it had been attacked, it informed the FBI and took its systems offline in an effort to keep the infection from spreading.
But not before the attack took down voicemail, email, a parking fines database, and a system used to pay water bills, property taxes and vehicle citations. Real estate transactions were also shut down.
It was lousy timing, given that this is one of the real estate industry’s busiest times of the year. The Baltimore Sun reported that hundreds of property sales could have been affected: A real estate agent with access to industry data told the newspaper that at least 1,500 sales were pending in Baltimore.
But a sliver of good news came on Monday, when Mayor Bernard Young’s office announced that the city had developed a manual workaround that would allow real estate transactions to resume during the outage.