Baltimore Authorizes $20 Million Bitcoin Ransomware Insurance Program

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Baltimore has authorized an expenditure for a $20 million insurance program against future ransomware attacks.

The city has twice suffered major ransomware infections, both times rendering essential services useless.

Baltimore: A City of Corruption and Unpaid Bitcoin Ransoms

The most recent bout with ransomware attackers follows the scandalous exit of disgraced democrat Catherine Pugh.

Pugh’s crime?

Essentially, selling children’s books out of the back of a truck to a publicly funded program, using her stature as mayor to grease the palms involved.

FBI agents fresh off a string of raids involving Pugh and her illicit book-selling operation were soon alerted to a ransomware attack on the city’s services, including police and tax payment systems.

The software used in the attack is called “Robinhood.”

Mayor “Jack” Young opted not to pay a 13 BTC ransom, valued at less than $100,000 at the time in May, 2019.

Now, however, city officials have decided to do something about the attacks, which can paralyze important functions of any government.

The WSJ says the city will spend nearly $850,000 annually to buy two $10 million insurance policies against future ransomware attacks.

Did we mention that the ransomware demand earlier this year was not even half that?

Baltimore: We Don’t Negotiate With Data Terrorists

Mayor Young previously spoke on the subject of ransomware attacks, saying:

“There’s no guarantee when you pay the ransom that you are going to get your system back.”

He reportedly later considered paying the ransom.

Baltimore then spent over $18 million instead of paying the hackers. Now the city will spend close to $1 million per year to insure against future attacks. All in response to a ransom that was originally less than $100,000.

Baltimore is just one city. Others, including Atlanta, have suffered similar attacks in the past. Over the past several years, dozens of public agencies have been infected and disrupted by ransomware.

Anti-virus software began to catch up with the plague. Then new variations, such as “Robinhood,” began to proliferate.

Now, a major new industry is growing as a result of the criminal ransomware trade.

This new industry is apparently far more valuable than the criminal activity itself. Insurance will be clocking in millions while apparently doing little to nip the problem in the bud.

Working in the anti-ransomware industry seems to be a source of potentially billions annually.

As often happens, a derivative market such as combating ransomware may yield more than the thing itself.

The question is whether such an incentive alignment would push former criminals, eager to earn Bitcoin from illegal activity, toward earning even bigger prizes combating the same.