The Baltimore city government is recovering from a devastating ransomware attack that has locked up its systems, but officials in the city have a new problem. According to The Baltimore Sun, Google has blocked city departmenmts from using Gmail accounts created as a workaround.
On May 7th, a ransomware attack froze government systems, including email, and demanded the city hand over bitcoin to reverse the hack. Weeks later, the city is still recovering from the attack, which has also shut down systems for paying water bills and some other services. While officials deal with the problem, which could still take months to fix, some have reportedly signed up for free Gmail accounts to keep operating.
But Gmail distinguishes between individual users and users in businesses and other organizations, requiring the latter to pay for the service. According to the Sun, Google has deemed the city officials to be part of an organization, and shut down the temporary accounts. Emails to the city health department, city council aides, and the mayor’s office have bounced, according to the report from the Sun.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Sun reports that officials in the Mayor’s Office discovered the issue today and are appealing the decision with Google.