Baltimore Struggles to Tackle Ransomware Attack as Hackers Demand $10,000 per Day
The entire United States’ city of Baltimore is heading through what can be termed as a communication network blackout. Zero Hedge report published May 23, 2019, stated that the hackers who conducted the ransomware attack to crumple the city’s communication are now demanding $10,000 dollar worth of bitcoin per day.
Baltimore Servers Could Take Months to Recover
The first week of May didn’t go well for the city of Baltimore and its government. Hackers were able to seize control of some of the major government systems and the city’s communication network while also shutting off important services and processes. On the first day of the ransomware attack, the hackers put forward a demand of $100,000 worth of bitcoins (13 BTC) to free the 10,000+ computers they had hacked into.
With no solutions figured out 14 days into the hack, the hackers seem to be negotiating with the government. Interestingly enough, the latest update from Zero Hedge informed that from a fixed demand of 13 bitcoins, the hackers are now asking for $10,000 worth of cryptocurrencies each day.
According to Avi Rubin, a Johns Hopkins computer science professor and cybersecurity expert, the malicious software used for the attack hardly has any vulnerabilities, meaning it would be almost impossible for any government specialist to break the code unless the hackers themselves do so.
In the words of Rubin the ransomware is:
“[…] believed by the cryptographic community, both the theoreticians as well as the practitioners, to be unbreakable by today’s technologies.”
Baltimore Mayor Jack Young noted that the officials, including the FBI, are on the case 24/7, but the attack continues to devastate the city. He added that it could take months to recover some servers.
More on the Attack
Though the FBI were immediately notified of the attack, the hackers had already taken down “voice mail, email, a parking fines database, and a system used to pay water bills, property taxes, and vehicle citations,” reported The New York Times.
In more of a dramatic manner, the threat note received by The Baltimore Sun read:
“We won’t talk more, all we know is MONEY! Hurry up! Tik Tak, Tik Tak, Tik Tak!”
While we aren’t new to ransomware attacks, there are hardly any known ways to tackle one once it goes off. The WannaCry attack of 2017, which according to the U.S. was done by North Korea, affected tens of thousands of computers across more than 100 countries.
As for Baltimore, it is the second time they’re struck by a ransomware attack in around a year’s time. And at present, there are hardly any puzzle pieces fitting together for the officials to tackle the complicated situation..