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With NSA-enabled hack, feds now owe Baltimore

Officials confirmed Tuesday the city had fallen victim to hackers demanding payment to unlock encrypted files. (Ian Duncan/Baltimore Sun video)

I read the front page story in the New York Times about the NSA and EternalBlue, the malware used to take down Baltimore’s computer system (“Baltimore political leaders seek briefings after report that NSA tool was used in ransomware attack,” May 26). And as a student of cyber warfare, I was shocked. Is our government as careless with nuclear ordinance as well?

The report about how a group called Shadow Brokers got their hands on coding that allowed access to Microsoft’s software defect makes that corporation liable as well. It’s called negligence. No doubt the head honchos of Redmond, Wash., knew all about the flaw but just didn’t want to upset the “little guy.” Shame on both the NSA and Microsoft.

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Baltimore’s not only been held hostage for weeks, the repair bill will be enormous. City taxpayers as usual will be expected to pick up the tab. What scares me is the idea our government has more vicious cyber weapons at the ready. What’s next, corruption of the electrical grid, our water supply or other vital infrastructure?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) should loosen its purse strings and help Baltimore recover from this disaster. It’s imperative Gov. Larry Hogan and state representatives get involved and expedite our reimbursement. But more important, every citizen needs to understand how vulnerable we are and be prepared. It’s time to become proactive, learn to back up vital information and recognize that bad actors are everywhere!

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Rosalind Heid, Baltimore

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