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Hackers disrupt Baltimore’s emergency call system; Atlanta still affected

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Hackers disrupted service over the weekend of a Baltimore computer network that supports emergency calls, forcing the city to resort to manual operations to handle calls, the city mayor’s office said.

A “limited breach” affecting Baltimore’s computer-assisted dispatch system, which is used to support and direct 911 and other emergency calls, was identified Sunday morning, according to Frank Johnson, Baltimore’s chief information officer.

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The disruption was the second cyber attack on a major U.S. city within the past week, coming days after Atlanta was struck by a widespread “ransomware” cyber extortion attack that interrupted bill collection services, downed the airport’s wireless internet and impeded other city services.

Some Atlanta city services remained offline for a seventh day following last Thursday’s ransomware attack.

 Atlanta police said that some parts of the department’s operations remained impacted by the attack, though its ability to respond to emergencies had not been affected.
“As teams diligently work to restore our network, it would not be prudent right now to go into specifics about police operations,” department spokeswoman Lisa Bender told Reuters. “We have begun to do some tasks manually, and continue to look for other ‘workarounds’ so that we can continue to serve the public with the same level of service they have come to expect.”

City workers turned away residents trying to pay their water bills and attend scheduled traffic court hearings, saying the cyber attack had halted work at those departments.

A senior U.S. cyber security official told Reuters there were no indications the Atlanta attack was related to the one in Baltimore.

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During the Baltimore outage, details of incoming callers seeking emergency support could not be electronically relayed to dispatchers, forcing call center staff to do so manually, Johnson said.

The impacted computer was isolated and taken offline and the computer-assisted dispatch system was fully restored by early Monday morning, he said.

“These critical services were not impacted nor disrupted at any time,” Johnson said in a statement.

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A spokesman for the mayor’s office declined to say if the city had identified any suspects behind the breach, if any data was stolen or if other city services had been recently targeted in cyber attacks.

An FBI spokesman told the Baltimore Sun that the bureau was providing technical assistance. The regional FBI office in Baltimore could not immediately be reached for comment.

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Reporting by Dustin Volz in Washington; Additional reporting by David Beasley in Atlanta; Editing by Dan Grebler and Jim Finkle


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Louisiana Democrat re-elected governor — despite Trump’s rallies for the Republican candidate

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The Associated Press has called the Lousiana's governor's race for incumbent Democrat John Bel Edwards.

Edwards triumphed over Republican businessman Eddie Rispone, who called to concede.

The outcome is another major political loss for President Donald Trump, who had held multiple campaign rallies for Rispone.

During his most recent rally, Trump begged the crowd to give him a "big win" in the election.

Eddie Rispone has conceded the #lagov race to Gov. John Bel Edwards, giving the Democrat four more years in ruby red Louisiana despite Trump’s best efforts to flip the seat. Edwards camp says Rispone called minutes ago to concede. #lagov #lalege

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Press secretary says it is ‘dangerous for the country’ to question whether she is putting out honest info

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Press secretary Stephanie Grisham on Saturday argued it was "dangerous for the country" for anyone to challenge the veracity of her claims.

Grisham made her argument after President Donald Trump went to Walter Reed Hospital for an unannounced doctor's visit, resulting in a great deal of speculation.

Following the visit, Grisham claimed Trump was "healthy" and "without complaints" -- a claim many found unlikely as the president has spent a good deal of time as president airing his many grievances.

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Sondland used WhatsApp to communicate with Ukraine — and won’t turn over the messages: report

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Ambassador Gordon Sondland used WhatsApp to send encrypted messages to a top Ukranian official, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

The communication occurred with Andriy Yermak, a top aide to President Volodymr Zelensky, when Sondland was in Kyiv, the newspaper reported.

"Sondland was also texting back and forth on WhatsApp with Yermak throughout the trip, and had been communicating with other Ukrainian officials over the messaging app in the preceding and subsequent months, according to people familiar with his interactions," The Post reported.

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