In early May 2019, the city of Baltimore fell prey to a debilitating ransomware attack. Emails and voicemails were crippled. The hackers seized data from the parking authority, water bill system, and real estate transactions. Anyone planning to purchase a home in May in Baltimore would be delayed.
Hackers demanded Bitcoin payments equal to around $100k to return the services and data. If they did not receive the money they would wipe out the data, costing the city significantly more in damage.
As of the writing of this article, more than 2 weeks after the attack, Baltimore mayor Bernard Young is standing strong against those that have perpetrated the attack. His stance is that paying these ransoms is what makes the practice possible and he posits that the money that is given to hackers is then likely used for them to build more sophisticated attacks.
However, when asked, after over 14 days of his city being hamstrung,  if he planned to capitulate, he is quoted as saying, “Right now, I say no, but in order to move the city forward? I might think about it.”
In all likelihood, the reason that the city of Baltimore was put in the position of being saddled with a ransomware attack is not because it was specifically targeted. Ransomware attacks like this one are becoming more and more prevalent, and mainly have to do with opportunism. Something about their system made it particularly vulnerable and hackers were able to exploit that, costing them what will result in millions in damage whether they pay or not.
Don’t be Baltimore
Nothing against Charm City, but it is crucial in the age of rising incidences of cybercrime to be better prepared for attacks like these. Unfortunately, as criminal behavior increases the budget needed to remain vigilant must also increase.
Consider that according to CSO

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