Baltimore City Estimates Cost of Ransomware Attack

Baltimore City says the ransomware attack that has paralyzed its computer network will cost at least $18.2 million. The estimate reflects a combination of lost or delayed revenue and direct costs to restore network infrastructure and city computers.

Ransomware attacks typically encrypt files and lock them up so users can’t access them. In this case, the attackers demanded about $76,000 in Bitcoin digital currency in exchange for the decryption keys to unlock city files, but the City refused to pay.

The Baltimore City attack, first reported on May 7, targeted the Microsoft Windows operating system, blocking city hall’s computer system, online transactions, and real estate sales. City leaders stress that critical public safety systems, such as 9-1-1, 3-1-1, emergency medical services, and the fire department, are operating normally and were not affected by the breach.

Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer warns that the figure is expected to grow, even as some computers begin to come back online.

According to The Baltimore Sun:

The cost estimates were disclosed Wednesday at a City Council budget hearing as regular email service was restored for at least some Baltimore employees, the first public indication that the city’s technological recovery is showing signs of success.

The city’s information technology office has spent $4.6 million on recovery efforts since the ransomware struck May 7 and expects to spend an additional $5.4 million by the end of the year, officials said.

The other $8.2 million in impact is from potential lost or delayed revenue, such as money from property taxes, real estate fees and some fines.

In response to a New York Times report that a key component of the ransomware was developed by the National Security Agency, city leaders are calling on the federal government to provide assistance. “I sent a letter to Gov. Hogan, asking him to officially ask and declare for federal disaster relief funds,” City Council President Brandon Scott said. “We will be asking for some financial assistance from the federal government to help the city of Baltimore out,” Baltimore Mayor Jack Young said.

Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.

Useful Links

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Baltimore City Hit by “Robbinhood” Ransomware Attack

The Baltimore Sun: Baltimore Estimates Cost of Ransomware Attack at $18.2 Million as Government Begins to Restore Email Accounts

The New York Times: In Baltimore and Beyond, a Stolen N.S.A. Tool Wreaks Havoc