Google reportedly shuts out Baltimore officials using Gmail after ransomware attack

The Baltimore City government is recovering from a devastating ransomware attack that has blocked their systems, but city officials have a new problem. According to The Baltimore Sun Google has blocked city departments from using Gmail accounts created as an alternative solution.

On May 7, a ransomware attack froze government systems, including email, and demanded that the city deliver bitcoin to reverse the hack. Weeks later, the city is still recovering from the attack, which has also closed the systems to pay the water bills and some other services. While officials deal with the problem, which could still take months to solve, some have registered with free Gmail accounts to keep working.

But Gmail distinguishes between individual users and users of companies and other organizations, which require the latter to pay for the service. According to Sun, Google has considered city officials as part of an organization, and closed temporary accounts. Emails sent to the city's health department, city council advisors and the mayor's office have rebounded, according to the report from Sun.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comments.

The Sun reports that officials of the Mayor's Office discovered the problem today and are appealing the decision with Google.

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