According to the reports we got from our sources a few days ago, it appears that the government of Baltimore is trying to pull through after suffering from a ransomware attack that crippled its system and almost locked it up completely. Yet in the midst of all this turmoil, our sources confirmed that another problem has resurfaced and Google blocked city departments from making use of their Gmail accounts generated as a hack.
It happened that on the 7th of May, 2019, a ransomware attack rendered government systems in Baltimore completely immobilized and this includes emails, the ransomware then called for the city to provide bitcoin in exchange for the hack to be reversed. After a few weeks, the city seemed to be recuperating from the whole attack thing which happened to take down the system meant for paying water bills and any other bills of the sort. Even though officials are doing what they can to handle the issue which in actual fact would take a couple of months to solve, there are others who opted for signing up for free Gmail accounts in order to keep their operations running.
Now Gmail has a way of separating private accounts from accounts that are used for businesses and other organizations and this they do by requiring that business and said organizations pay for their service. Our sources report that Google systems demanded that the city officials become part of an organization and shut their temporary accounts down and emails to the health department of the city, its council aides, and the office of the mayor were rejected.
While making a statement using Google’s account on Twitter, the spokesperson of Google stated that Gmail’s security system detected the creation of multiple accounts in a short amount of time and had no choice but to shut them down immediately. In the words of the spokesperson;
“These account were disabled because the creation of a large number of new accounts triggered Google’s automated security system. The threshold is around 50 accounts, so more than 50 accounts triggered its systems.”
“We have restored access to the Gmail accounts for the Baltimore city officials. Our automated security systems disabled the accounts due to the bulk creation of multiple consumer Gmail accounts from the same network.”
More importantly to note is that the issue that the Baltimore faced could have been avoided if only the City Officials had created a Google GSuite Government account or even the normal GSuite account at the cost of $6 per user for a month.
Organizations can from this experience upgrade their accounts or set up a GSuite account so as not to prevent this from recurring in the future.