Google Blocked Baltimore officials Gmail accounts created during ransomware attack

Google has inadvertently thwarted attempts by the Baltimore City government to fight ransomware.

The cyberattack hit civilian computers in Baltimore on May 7, blocking email accounts and online payment systems.

City officials established GMail accounts to restore communications between citizens and staff.

The massive creation of the accounts triggered the GMail defenses of Google that closed them, believing that they were being used by spammers.

Google said it restored access to GMail accounts once it discovered who created them and why.

“Our automated security systems disabled accounts due to the mass creation of multiple Gmail accounts by consumers from the same network,” Google told the BoingBoing website.

Sales of waiting houses
The cyberattack has meant that many of the day-to-day administration tasks of the Baltimore City government have stopped. It has delayed the sales of many homes and stopped the generation of water bills. And people can not pay tax bills or parking fines.

A manual solution for home sales has been implemented, and the internal email change to GMail was another scheme to defeat the attackers.

The cybercriminals who launched the ransomware attack demanded a payment of $ 100,000 (£ 79,000) in Bitcoins to restore control of official systems to city workers. About 10,000 computers were affected by the virus.

Baltimore has so far refused to pay the ransom. It is known that the FBI and the Secret Service are investigating.

The mayor of the city, Bernard Young, said it was not clear when the systems would work again.

Last year, Baltimore was attacked by a cyberattack that destroyed emergency service communications systems for a day.