Maryland: Baltimore’s servers held hostage for 2 weeks; mayor will not pay ransom

DC: Two weeks after cyber hackers got into Baltimore’s servers and demanded 13 bitcoins — over $100,000 — in exchange for releasing their hold, the hackers remain there, and they’ve updated their demand to $10,000 a day.

Among the servers affected include government emails, city pay services and real estate transactions. Baltimore Mayor Jack Young said the city is not going to pay, according to NPR. The Secret Service and the FBI are investigating, along with experts who are attempting to restore service.

The software being used for this hack is “unbreakable,” according to cybersecurity expert Avi Rubin. It’s called RobinHood, and is known in the cyber world as a powerful and destructive program. With this program, experts said server data becomes impossible to access without a server key, which apparently can’t be replicated without the original hackers.

“I don’t even think that the NSA would be able to break this algorithm,” Rubin, also a Johns Hopkins computer science professor, told NPR. “It’s believed by the cryptographic community, both the theoreticians as well as the practitioners, to be unbreakable by today’s technologies.”

Baltimore officials said they asked Atlanta for advice, a city that found itself in a similar hole in 2018 when it faced a ransomware attack. It reportedly cost the city $17 million.  more here

10 Comments on Maryland: Baltimore’s servers held hostage for 2 weeks; mayor will not pay ransom

  1. Coming to another Democrat run catastrophe near you.
    The local radio news said the City was warned that
    the computer and tech system was “underfunded,
    understaffed and in need of a security update”
    a week or two before it happened. I’m sure that
    the bosses knew long before they were “warned”

  2. All this computer tec is way over my head,even my cell phone gives me a headach. Miss my old dial telephone even if it was a party line and i had to wait for Mrs.Baker to hang up. 😥🤔

  3. …I don’t normally sympathize with Democrats, but this is shit that happens, mostly because people are involved.

    Remember how the Stuxnet virus destroyed Iran’s centrifuges because some Iranian picked up a memory stick in the break room and couldn’t resist opening the “Boss’s Salary” folder on a control system? This is how is happens, someone does something they shouldn’t, and away we go…

    …My company got a ransomware virus that destroyed a control system and a process record database last year, because someone who was left too alone, too much, at night, couldn’t resist going into a secured room, logging into a secured system, then surfing the Web over a control system with a connection that was left open for the OEM to be able to access it, and then apparently wanted to see what was happening in PornoLand.

    Evidently, what was happening in PornoLand THAT night was that there was a ransomware file with an enticing smile, and they clicked on it. It was pretty clear that something wonderful had happened because (A) the message from the ransomers about sending them money, (b) the computer immediately stopped working as a control system, and (C) most of the files not needed for basic computer operations had a .EVIL file extension.

    Lesson one is that people suck, and will do sucky things if left alone. This is one of the reasons planes have TWO pilots, so ONE is seldom left alone (didn’t pan out for Germanwings because one of the pilots had to take what ended up being a last piss, but that’s a different story for another time).

    …This was backed up automatically to an offsite system for the database information, but our IT folks did not have safeguards in place for this PARTICULAR lovely, which evidently followed any system mapping you had into ANY other hard drive, and encrypted that, too.

    …happily, unlike the IT folks, I have been around long enough to know how this worked (starting with the ILOVEYOU virus in the ’90’s that I was able to keep isolated out of my control systems by previously insisting on air firewalls while the REST of the corporate system was infected), so I had a backup server already spun up and ready to go that was stored dark, so it didn’t have any of the nasties propagated to it. Once we established our Windows CE terminals in the field devices hadn’t shared in the festivities (Most folks don’t code attacks for CE, no profit in it), I was able to get running as soon as I came in the next day, with only the loss of some process records that we had hard copy for, so some management and IT folks were sadder and hopefully wiser, but good to go otherwise.

    …the thing to realize here is that they DO put a bitcoin thing up, saying that you can send X to Y, and it will go up by Z every day you don’t, but you’d be a fool to send them ANYTHING. First, you’re dealing with anonymous pirates. They probably WON’T send you a key, and even if they DID, it would likely be full of mischief like the FIRST file, and you will NOT lead a full and happy life with it. Second, remember that these are the folks that wrecked up your systems in the FIRST place, and if you send them money, you’re both establishing that you are a willing customer AND opening the door for them to load whatever they like to your system, WITH your cooperation.

    …this is why I don’t blame even Baltimore for not doing “business” with them, DOUBLY so because they are Democrats. A Democrat is a thief. It’s what they DO. NO one is more worried about theft than a thief, and a thief knows BETTER than to trust ANOTHER thief. So, while it may be fun that someone made Democrats unhappy, it is unlikely to make them rich, because the Dems don’t appreciate criminals moving in on THEIR turf, and will NOT reward it…

  4. For every “unbreakable” computer malware code or lock there is someone proving them all wrong.

  5. One or six shot in the head crackers drug out onto the street after a midafternoon raid (when they’re all asleep) would really slow down this type of malfeasance.

    You can’t convince me we don’t have government or military dweebs that know exactly where these people are.

  6. When asked for a comment on how the hackers got in to deploy the ransomeware, City of Baltimore IT director, Mabeline Kwanfussay Jackson, the first transexual African-American head of a major city IT department, said, “How the fuck should I know? I don’t about computers & shit. That’s what we hire all those Indian & Chinese boyz fo’. Pro’lly one of those white boyz I fired.”

  7. Wipe (you know, like with a cloth) and restore from backups. You DO have backups, don’t you?

  8. I heard the City’s tax billing system is down so the pirates did some good. Slows down the tax income being
    hoisted by the Real pirates who have been fleecing city residents for decades.


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