Eternally Blue: Baltimore City leaders blame NSA for ransomware attack

Eternally Blue: Baltimore City leaders blame NSA for ransomware attack

Enlarge / Baltimore: An IT disaster area? (credit: Cyndi Monaghan via Getty Images)

The mayor and city council president of Baltimore are pushing for the ransomware attack that brought Baltimore’s city government to a standstill to be designated a disaster, and officials are seeking federal aid to help pay for the cleanup from the RobbinHood malware’s damage. This call came after a New York Times report that the ransomware used the EternalBlue exploit developed by the National Security Agency to spread across the city’s network.

EternalBlue was part of a set of tools developed for the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group that were leaked by Shadow Brokers in 2017. The tool was then used two months later as part of WannaCry, the destructive cryptographic worm that affected thousands of computers worldwide. Shadow Brokers has been linked by some security experts to a Russian intelligence agency; WannaCry has been attributed

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Baltimore ransomware nightmare could last weeks more, with big consequences

Google bots shut down Baltimore officials’ ransomware workaround Gmail accounts

Enlarge / Oh, Baltimore. (credit: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

In the wake of the ransomware attack that has kept city networks and infrastructure shut down now for over two weeks, Baltimore officials—including the mayor and city council members—set up Google Gmail accounts as a backup communications channel. But earlier this week, Google’s automated systems shut the accounts down, instructing the account holders to purchase a business account.

On May 23, a Google spokesperson said through the company’s Twitter account, “We have restored access to the Gmail accounts for the Baltimore City officials. Our automated security systems disabled the accounts due to the bulk creation of multiple consumer Gmail accounts from the same network.”

The problem could have been prevented if Baltimore City officials had set up a Google GSuite Government account (or even just a regular GSuite account) at $6 per user per month.

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