Security

Baltimore Ransomware: Google Disables City Officials’ Workaround Gmail Accounts

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The city of Baltimore is currently trying to push back against a ransomware attack that has shut down the city’s networks and infrastructure since about two weeks ago. 

One of the ways they tried to regain control of the situation was by setting up Google Gmail accounts, in order to maintain swift communications but Google’s automated systems shut down the accounts as the creation of a large number of new accounts triggered Google’s automated security system.

Google’s automated security systems usually trigger at a threshold of around 50 accounts, something that could have been avoided if the city officials would have opted to pay $6 a month for a GSuite Government account. 

Eventually, the accounts were restored, but the problem of the ransomware still looms over the city – even with their new accounts, the city employees cannot access any financial records as Baltimore shut down all of its internal networks in order to prevent the malware from spreading out. 

For now, every transaction is done the old-fashioned way, with pen and paper, in person, from 7am to 7pm. The sellers sign an affidavit for outstanding taxes or other liens within 10 days of being invoiced. This paperwork also needs to be hand-delivered by the seller to a different office. 

For now, none of the city leaders have offered any new updates concerning the situation, however, Mayor Bernard ‘Jack’ Young told the reporters at the International Council of Shopping Centers’ convention that took place this week in Las Vegas that “Baltimore is open for business.”

The article has been updated after a Google spokesperson reached out to state that Google did not require users to purchase a business account since Google does not require municipalities to pay for Gmail. 

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