Baltimore: Ransomware Halts Real Estate Deals as Officials Refuse to Pay 13 Bitcoin Ransom

The Baltimore City government has been under siege for well over a week after being hit with a ransomware attack earlier this month. As officials refuse to pay a bitcoin ransom demanded by the hackers, real estate deals in the city halted.

According to The Baltimore Sun, the attack has disrupted the city’s servers to the point its communication network has been severely affected. Currently, essential systems required for real estate deals are offline, which brought the entire industry into chaos in Baltimore.

This, as real estate cannot be bought or sold. Property transactions stopped as title insurance companies are currently unable to access city servers to verify whether properties are free of liens.

The city’s collection of transfer and property taxes and water bills has reportedly also been affected. Amy Caplan, the operations manager at Broadview Title, revealed servers holding critical real estate data crashed, forcing title companies to tell their agents to stop transacting in Baltimore. Caplan was quoted as saying:

It's crippling the entire city for sure. There's just no resolution. It seems like there's no contingency plan in place for Baltimore city.

Baltimore’s Mayor Bernand C. “Jack” Young told City Council members that officials were “working to minimize any impact” on real estate transactions in the city, although he admitted the ransomware attack paralyzed its real estate industry.

Real estate data shows that since the attack began on May 7, various transactions have been halted. Currently, the city has 1,500 pending sales. The real estate, while one of the most affected ones, isn’t the only suffering because of the attack.

The Baltimore Sun notes that the city’s police systems and more are down, forcing many to start using pen and paper. The city has been refusing to pay the hackers, who demand a 13 BTC ($92,000) ransom to stop the whole attack, or a 3 BTC ($21,400) ransom to decrypt a specific system.

Baltimore is being attacked by a new type of ransomware known as “Robbinhood.” Researchers haven’t yet figured out who’s behind it, although cybersecurity firm Armor may have identified a tweet from the attackers.