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How the city of Baltimore has been crippled by a ransomware attack—and it could take months to recover

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Visitors to Baltimore’s government website this week saw a banner message that might be jarring for a city that’s taken pride in its high-tech “smart city” initiatives.

“The City of Baltimore is currently unable to send or receive email,” the banner read. “If you need assistance, please call the department you wish to contact.”

That comes after the city’s computer network was struck by a massive ransomware attack that Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young said on May 17 could take months to fully recover from.

“We don’t have any [recovery] date as of now,” says James E. Bentley II, press secretary in the mayor’s office. “They’re just working around the clock to secure the environment, and then once they are certain that they have a secure environment, they’re going to start working incrementally to bring applications and email back online.”

The hack, first discovered on May 7, also interfered with real estate sales in the city since officials couldn’t verify that sellers didn’t have outstanding liens on their properties. The city has since introduced a new procedure effectively letting sales resume if sellers pledge to pay any outstanding debts on their properties. The attack also shuttered a “bad........

© Fast Company