Since 7th May, the city of Baltimore in Maryland, USA has had to close down its entire official computer systems due to an extensive ransomware attack. According to the report by a leading daily, the ransomware named ‘RobbinHood’ has brought all of Baltimore’s official email and other online infrastructure like the systems that allow residents to pay for water bills and other services to a standstill.
As per reports, the tool that has paralyzed the whole city was developed by the National Security Agency (NSA). The tool named EternalBlue was used in many other high-profile cyberattacks.
Security experts stated that hackers made use of EternalBlue that exploits proneness and sensitivity in some versions of Microsoft’s Windows XP and Vista systems. It allowed the external party to carry out remote commands on their target. The tool was revealed by a hacking group named The ShadowBrokers. A day after that Microsoft released a patch to fix the issue. However, patching a system doesn’t indicate that those vulnerabilities are totaly closed: users must first apply the patch. Hackers who used EternalBlue have since been accountable for many major cyberattacks, which includes Wannacry in May 2017 and the NotPetya onslaught against Ukranian banks and infrastructure in June 2017.
While city officials are supposedly looking at temporary solution, but ever since the attack was carried out 19 days ago, no relief has been reported till now.
The Baltimore assault is the latest example of the use of this malware, and a recent report underlines that its use is growing, especially against US targets.
Baltimore’s computers were affected with the ransomware attack earlier this month and city officials have stated that they won’t pay the $76,000 demand of ransom. The city has begun to enforce some workarounds, manually processing real estate transactions and establishing a Gmail system for city workers, which Google initially closed down, but has since restored. Meanwhile, the city’s IT department is working to reinstate access to the city’s systems while improving their security while they do so.