Guest Host: Sasha-Ann Simons

Administrative affairs in Baltimore have been slower due to a ransomware attack on the city.

Administrative affairs in Baltimore have been slower due to a ransomware attack on the city.

Hackers attacked about 20 municipalities around the country during this year alone.

Baltimore is one of the latest victims. Hackers demanded about $100,000 (to be paid in bitcoin). The mayor said the city won’t pay, which has ground some parts of administrative operations to a halt.

Emily Sullivan reported for NPR about what it’s like:

“Imagine if somebody would sneak into a government building at night, load up a bunch of boxes with all the paperwork for all the pending permits and all the pending house closings and all the pending business that the city was conducting, put it all in a truck and drive away — and demand some money in order to bring that truck back,” said Avi Rubin, a Johns Hopkins computer science professor and cybersecurity expert.

These attacks can have significant consequences — The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that a similar hack from last year could cost taxpayers $17 million. The hackers only asked for about $51,000 in bitcoin but the city refused to pay the ransom. The larger figure would address security upgrades and purchase new hardware.

We talk to Sullivan about her reporting from Baltimore and what other cities around the country have done to deal with hackers.

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