Baltimore 911 System Paralyzed by Hackers

After the recent cyber attack in Atlanta, Baltimore 911 system was paralyzed by hackers for seventeen hours.

During the weekend, cyber criminals took down part of the 911 service at the city of Baltimore, US.

The hackers attacked a specific server and shut down the CAD system from 8.30 am Saturday until around 2 am Sunday.

“Baltimore’s 911 dispatch system was hacked by an unknown actor or actors over the weekend, prompting a temporary shutdown of automated dispatching and an investigation into the breach, Mayor Catherine Pugh’s office confirmed Tuesday.” the Baltimore Sun reported.

“James Bentley, a spokesman for Pugh, confirmed that the Sunday morning hack affected messaging functions within the computer-aided dispatch, or CAD, system, but said the mayor would not otherwise comment on the matter Tuesday.”

The attackers paralyzed the emergency service’s Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) used by the operators at 911. According to the media, during the cyber attack no systems beyond the one CAD server were hit and no data was exposed or stolen.

It is essential the 911 service to respond to any emergency signals and to direct police, fire, and ambulance to the place of the emergency.

Due to the attack during the weekend, the operators at 911 were forced to dispatch the responders manually. In other words, 911 and 311 “were temporarily transitioned to manual mode.”

The cyber attack was launched while thousands of protesters were participating in the nationwide march against gun violence.

The personnel of the city were able to “isolate and take offline the affected server, thus mitigating the threat” of the hack, the chief information officer in the Mayor’s Office of Information Technology said.

As already mentioned, just a few days ago, the networks of Atlanta, US were infected with a variant of the SamSam ransomware which blocked several internal systems and encrypted the city’s data.

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