The Alarming Lessons of Baltimore
June 24, 2019
Baltimore’s Entire City Government Brought Down by Ransomware Attack
Baltimore is known for quite a few things—fantastic crab cakes, a beautiful harbor and the famed Johns Hopkins Hospital come to mind immediately—and if you’re into sports, the Orioles and the Ravens, of course. But among tech professionals, Baltimore is now famous for an unfortunate reason: the entire city government was recently brought to a total standstill by a devastating ransomware attack.
This news story didn’t catch the eye of most outside of the Baltimore area, but it did make huge waves in the tech community, and for good reason. The attack by a new Ransomware called “RobbinHood” originally occurred May 7, and over six weeks later, still has disastrous consequences. Though much of the city’s systems are back online, only about 65% of city employees have access to email, and they still cannot bill their citizens or accept payments for things like water and sewer systems. This lost revenue to the city only compounds the devastating dollar amount they’ve had to spend to get their city’s systems up and running again.
That dollar amount is no small sum. According to GovTech.com, though the hacker’s bitcoin ransom totaled only about $80,000, the city refused to pay...and has spent over $18 million cleaning up the Ransomware damage. OUCH.
This recent attack proves that any entity, big or small, is vulnerable to hackers. The truth is, hackers really aren’t choosy when it comes to picking victims, they just want a vulnerable one. Though it may seem that an entire city government may be a difficult target, it turns out Baltimore was a sitting duck. Cybersecurity expert Herb Lin told GovTech.com, “The ransomware that hit Baltimore would have been prevented by a patch that Microsoft had issued in 2017 — that is, two years earlier. People should be installing patches. Everybody knows that. But saying you should be installing patches and actually doing it are two different things. It takes effort, it takes money, it takes follow-up and so on."
The moral of the story? Preparing for an attack is far, far less expensive than cleaning up after one. Here at TechAdvisors, keeping your business tech attack-proof is top priority. If you are under attack, we will be there to help immediately, but we’d much rather put a security plan in place for your business to prevent attacks before they happen. Call us today to a security evaluation so we can make sure you’ve got all the patches and security measures in place to keep your life’s work secure.