DailyPost 969


Political leadership would slowly need a skill which is even beyond imagination today – the capability to provide resilient IT systems, crisis handling of hack or a breach or a ransomware attack on critical infrastructure or utilities. Baltimore’s new mayor is learning the hard way. With barely a month into his Mayorship, a ransomware attack on 7th May 2019 has thrown city out of gear. Two weeks and no end in sight. A city under seize after hackers digitally seized about 10,000 Baltimore government computers and demanded $1,00,000 worth in bitcoins. Last year, in another attack, 911 system was shutdown for a day. Baltimore is under close scrutiny for handling both the attacks.

The two deadlines have passed, the ransom was to be in increased after four days and the information to be permanently destroyed if ransom was not paid in 10 days. Baltimore Mayor said that the ransom will be paid. The recovery will take weeks or even months and one is not sure whether still the systems would be truncated. Atlanta was demanded $50,000 in bitcoins in a ransomware attack, it refused to pay, it is reported that it took the city $17 million. Who will bear the burden – the citizens.

With the full strength of FBI and all other investigative agencies at the US Govt.’s command, there has been no fruitful headway to date. Tracking down how, when, why and by whom this attack was orchestrated still is a mammoth task. ”The city has a huge attack surface, 113 sub domains – about a quarter of which are internally hosted and at least 256 public IP addresses (of which only 8 are currently online, thanks to the network shutdown.

This is the digital future vis a vis the critical infrastructure and govt. utilities being enacted. The govt. is on its knees between ransom and recovery, investigative agencies and IT security experts / companies providing no answer. Cyber Security and resilience will come at a huge cost; expertise, vision, relentless work, funding et al. Time to start.


Sanjay Sahay

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