Cops Still Haven’t Figured Out They Are Always on Camera

And he and another cop at the scene were wearing body cameras. Former Baltimore officer and man he punched on viral video testify in assault trial.

Cellphone footage of the incident that went viral last year showed Williams confronting and striking McGrier multiple times on a sidewalk in the 2500 block of E. Monument St. of East Baltimore. Body camera footage from both Williams and a second officer, Brandon Smith-Saxon, provided more angles and details of the altercation.

He resigned the day of, was charged, and is in the middle of a bench trial.

McGrier, 26, suffered a fractured jaw and ribs, swelling around his eye and ringing in his ears from Williams’ punches, his attorney has said. McGrier was hospitalized for three days, according to testimony.

Defense attorney Thomas Maronick argued that the hospital stay of only three days shows, “The injury was not serious in any regard.”

I know lawyers are paid to spin things in their clients’ favor, but is stretching the truth part of that deal? A few broken bones is no big deal. Really?

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Baltimore Wants You to Pay for Their Lack of Planing

Because even though they’ve been told for the past 4 years that they are doing things wrong, why should they be responsible for their actions. Baltimore calls for federal emergency declaration after cyber attack.

City council president wants the federal government to have a larger supporting role in helping the city recover from the attack that disabled computer systems and key citizen services.

This will tell every city, county and state that they don’t need to do anything about cyber security, because when bad things happen, and they will, the federal .gov will bail you out. Can you spell “blank check?”

What is happening in Baltimore isn’t a disaster. It is the completely predictable outcome of the way they have been managing information technology. Refusing to listen even to the people that they hired to fix the mess. I, for one, don’t want to pay for their stupidity. For details on that stupidity, see this link.

Baltimore Hoping to Blame Anyone But Themselves

Because they have a lot of blame piled up. Eternally Blue: Baltimore City leaders blame NSA for ransomware attack.

This is from a week ago, but apparently not much has changed. And I wanted to see what created this catastrophe of no planning.

City Leaders would like it to be “all NSA’s fault,” but the truth is, they built this catastrophe day by day for the past decade.

Baltimore’s ongoing ransomware dilemma is in many ways a product of more than a decade of neglect of the city’s information technology infrastructure. Since 2012, four Baltimore City chief information officers have been fired or have resigned; two left while under investigation.

Baltimore spends about half of what similar cities do on Information Technology, and most of what they spend is not centrally controlled, so a push to fix problems – like hardening against ransomware – has almost no chance of moving forward.

The Current CIO hired Gartner Group to do a 5-year plan. Not much has been done. His report on the plan says, in part…

Decades of decentralized information technology (IT) management and insufficient enterprise investment has led to a system that struggles to support city priorities and deliver service improvements for both residents and businesses. Furthermore, many of the city’s IT capabilities are outdated and lack the modern-day range of capabilities offered by comparable cities.

He said that BEFORE they got hit with ransomware. So I can see why they want to blame anyone else.

It’s The NSA’s Fault That Baltimore Didn’t Patch Its Systems

Even though they’ve been told for more than 2 years to patch their systems. In Baltimore and Beyond, a Stolen N.S.A. Tool Wreaks Havoc.

So Baltimore is still on its back, from a digital services point of view.

The tool exploits a vulnerability in unpatched software that allows hackers to spread their malware faster and farther than they otherwise could. [my emphasis]

So, if you don’t want to end up like Baltimore, then you should update your damn systems. If you don’t update your systems, then you shouldn’t cry about how it is someone else’s fault.

Note: the NSA is partly to blame, but I feel no sympathy toward Baltimore. After an attack last year they CUT IT spending.

Allentown and San Antonio were also hit, as well as several universities.

So. Patch the damn systems.

Baltimore STILL Suffering from Ransomware

I feel like they are in the mode “search for the scapegoat.” Baltimore Council President Scott to form panel to examine city’s cybersecurity after crippling computer hack.

I wonder if his panel will discover past requests for IT support dollars that were deemed not important. Any bets? (On whether there were requests, or on whether his panel will find evidence of them?)

The ransomware attack last week on the city’s computer network has caused widespread problems across agencies, including shutting down systems essential for completing home sales in Baltimore.

“This cyberattack against Baltimore city government is a crisis of the utmost urgency,” Scott said.

Actually this guy said, after the previous hack, that they weren’t spending enough on IT security. But it’s easy for one politician to say “we should fix this.”

A review of city budgets shows that certain elements of cybersecurity strategy has lagged as funding has declined.

After they suffered a MAJOR attack about a year ago, funding for security DECLINED. They deserve whatever they get. And what they’ve got is, they can’t pay bills or accept payments. So there’s that.

Security isn’t free. It takes software, and people (who need training regularly) and probably outside audits. Oh, and training so people outside of IT don’t click on spear-phishing emails.

And people ask me why I will never work in Information Technology again. I don’t know how to do something with nothing. I can’t put 10 pounds in a 5-pound bag, not matter how loud you scream. And public bureaucracies aren’t that much different than private. (The best plan, in case of emergency, is to keep your resume updated on your PC at home.)

Baltimore’s Ransomware Attack Drags On

Baltimore got hit with ransomware (again) on Tuesday, and it is taking a while to correct the problems. Baltimore struggles to recover from ransomware attack.

Email is down for most city employees, as is bill-paying via credit cards for stuff like paying water bills, etc.

It’s the 2nd time Baltimore has been hit with ransomware in 14 months.

At a Wednesday press conference, city IT director Frank Johnson said the city was working with the FBI and that it appeared to be a “fairly new variant” of the RobinHood ransomware that is “quite aggressive.”

Baltimore isn’t saying exactly what happened, since they are still trying dig themselves out from under… But things with .gov at all levels aren’t great.

The Baltimore attack is a reminder that many governments remain vulnerable to cyberterrorism, largely due to a lack of funding and staffing. In a 2018 Deloitte-NASCIO survey of 50 state officials in charge of information security, nearly half said their state did not have a separate cybersecurity budget line, and most allocate between 0% and 3% of their IT budgets to addressing cyberthreats.

Doesn’t sound good at the next election for the politicians to go on about spending money to avoid crap like this. And so, Baltimore isn’t alone.

And that is only the .gov from the past week.

Baltimore After Freddie Gray

This is truly a clusterfuck. Baltimore police stopped noticing crime after Freddie Gray’s death. A wave of killings followed.

People complained about the cops – and rightly so. The Justice Department investigated, though that has slacked off. It seems police have stopped being proactive. The net result is crime and murder have skyrocketed.

Just before a wave of violence turned Baltimore into the nation’s deadliest big city, a curious thing happened to its police force: officers suddenly seemed to stop noticing crime.

And Baltimore is the most dangerous city. Chicago has them beat on the shear number of murders, but the difference in size means that the rate of murder (and other crimes) is higher by far.

Police interviewing people dropped by 70 percent. The stopping of drug deals “on view” dropped by 30 percent. They will respond to a 911 call, but that is all.

“Immediately upon the riot, policing changed in Baltimore, and it changed very dramatically,” says Donald Norris, an emeritus professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, who reviewed USA TODAY’s analysis. “The outcome of that change in policing has been a lot more crime in Baltimore, especially murders, and people are getting away with those murders.”

There are some interesting graphics at that linked article, that show the dramatic ways crime has changed and the impact on the city and its neighborhoods. (A map about ½ way down shows how the murder rate changed over the years before 2015, and in the years since.

In this age where everything is seen through a lens of what group you belong to, the one statistic that is absent is race. Race of people killed. Race of people impacted by the increase in lawlessness. You only get a few interviews for a view of the impact all these changes have had on the citizens of Baltimore.

Drug dealers have worked Baltimore’s street corners for decades. But [Rev. Rodney Hudson, the pastor of AMES United Methodist Church in West Baltimore] says it has been years since he has seen so many young men selling so brazenly in so many places. Dealers, he says, “are taking advantage” of a newly timid police force

People, who do bad things, should be punished, and that includes the police. Maybe it should even be that police are held to a higher standard. But in the aftermath of the Baltimore riots, and the Ferguson riots, etc. police seem have stepped back from policing. Baltimore is an especially egregious example, but they are not alone in seeing this kind of impact. And if the people of Baltimore are ever going to get their city back from the gangs and drug dealers, they are going to need more help from the police. I wish I knew how we get there from where we are, but painting police as the enemy, and everything they do as evil and/or suspect (as the Obama administration did) is probably not the best strategy.