Ransomware attack on Baltimore has cost city $18 million so far

midian182

Posts: 6,187   +51
Staff member

The RobbinHood file-locking ransomware landed on the systems on May 7, encrypting files. The attack affected hospitals, factories, airports, ATMs, and other city services. Hackers had demanded a payment of 13 bitcoin (over $75,000) per computer to unencrypt the locked drives, but the FBI advised Baltimore officials not to pay the ransom as it would not reduce cybersecurity costs. Like so many ransomware attacks, it’s believed this one relied on phishing.

Earlier this week, Baltimore Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young said that “All city services remain open, and Baltimore is open for business." He added that many departments, including municipal payment and finance systems, were still facing issues, which meant relying on “paper documents and manual workarounds.”

Young said the $18 million in damages included “$8 million lost because of deferred or lost revenue while the city was unable to process payments.” The total amount could rise as the city looks to secure its systems, thereby avoiding any similar incidents.

Additionally, 10,000 city employees are still being issued new network and email credentials in-person, which could continue until the end of the week. Parking tickets and tickets generated by the city’s speed and red light cameras can only be paid in person, and as the city's smart meters and water billing system are still offline, residents can expect their water bills to be more than usual.

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psycros

Posts: 3,230   +3,475
"..and as the city's smart meters and water billing system are still offline, residents can expect their water bills to be more than usual."

WOW..so their actually using THEIR screw-up as an excuse to gouge customers. Amazing, but not unexpected. Well, makes me glad that we don't have any of that computerized stuff around here..its still all done on paper and/or in person. Bill pay with your bank is the best..all the benefits of online paying without any of the security risks. Frankly, I think its crazy to give any third party access to your bank account. They WILL try to rob you sooner or later, hoping you won't notice and knowing that even if you do you'll have to go through a huge hassle to get your money back. Another benefit of bill pay: if the payee doesn't accept electronic payments the bank mails them a check.
 
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texasrattler

Posts: 1,018   +454
I am sure that isn't legal. They just can't raise water bills due to a error or anything that's because their security sucked. That's on them. Im sure there is some legal document, some will sue the city and win. More likely a private battle, I doubt we would even here about it if it takes place. Unless a lot of residents fight it.
If the amount is small for each resident, they may not even notice it. Not many pay attention to all their bills, especially if you are on a auto payment setup.
 
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Uncle Al

Posts: 7,606   +6,117
Here's a good example of an impeachable offense. Failing to guard the people's properties is not excusable and should be dealt with in the harshest of means. Causing undue burden on citizens is more than enough reason to throw the bums out!
 

zorven

Posts: 15   +8
"..and as the city's smart meters and water billing system are still offline, residents can expect their water bills to be more than usual."

WOW..so their actually using THEIR screw-up as an excuse to gouge customers.
No, if residents typically received a monthly bill and the billing system is down, that means the next bill they receive when the billing system is back up could be for 6 weeks of usage instead of 4 weeks.
 
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brucek

Posts: 578   +702
TechSpot Elite
Most utility monopolies are regulated on a costs + allowed profit margin basis. If their costs go up, whether for good or bad reasons, the customer bills eventually go up with them. If they didn't revenue would go negative and the utility wouldn't be able to operate.

The regulator may be able to charge a penalty/fine for violation of one or more regulations to make a point, and perhaps even use that to offset some costs (but I believe that's not usually done, the city keeps it for their own purposes), but yes utility error can and does equal ratepayer charge in the long run.
 
"..and as the city's smart meters and water billing system are still offline, residents can expect their water bills to be more than usual."

WOW..so their actually using THEIR screw-up as an excuse to gouge customers. Amazing, but not unexpected. Well, makes me glad that we don't have any of that computerized stuff around here..its still all done on paper and/or in person. Bill pay with your bank is the best..all the benefits of online paying without any of the security risks. Frankly, I think its crazy to give any third party access to your bank account. They WILL try to rob you sooner or later, hoping you won't notice and knowing that even if you do you'll have to go through a huge hassle to get your money back. Another benefit of bill pay: if the payee doesn't accept electronic payments the bank mails them a check.
Ok Obviously you didn't really understand what you were reading.. Their Smartmeters' Network is offline.. that doesn't stop the meters themselves from counting up the water/gas/electricity the customer is using. The reason their bills will be higher than usual is because of the longer billing cycle. And as far as your stupidity regarding "none of that computerized stuff around here..." well that just goes to show how much you know. As soon as our smart meter was installed, I was able to switch over to metered billing, so that I can adjust my habits to utilize my water usage and heavy electrical usage to the periods of day/night where my cost per unit was lower. Just by washing and drying my clothes at night, washing my dishes overnight, and changing my showers to morning, I've dropped my average utility bill by around 15-20%. I couldn't do that before the smart meters because I was just billed the same rate all day and night, because THEY couldn't tell the difference!
 
I am sure that isn't legal. They just can't raise water bills due to a error or anything that's because their security sucked. That's on them. Im sure there is some legal document, some will sue the city and win. More likely a private battle, I doubt we would even here about it if it takes place. Unless a lot of residents fight it.
If the amount is small for each resident, they may not even notice it. Not many pay attention to all their bills, especially if you are on a auto payment setup.
It's not a rate hike they are referring to! The networks for the smartmeters are offline. That means they can't report in on usage, but that doesn't stop them from counting the usage.. Their bills will also be late as they can't run their reports that will generate the bills as well!