CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - 19 News sources say that Cleveland Hopkins International Airport information systems were illegally seized, and that a hacker won’t unlock the affected servers until a ransom is paid via Bitcoin.
Starting Monday, the airport’s gate information and baggage claim screens went down, creating some mild to moderate confusion among passengers who were trying to catch flights and pick up luggage.
Mayor Frank Jackson’s Office reported Thursday that “misinformation” is circulating in regard to the ongoing tech issues.
On Thursday, the city sent out a press release, which stated, in part:
“The City of Cleveland and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport continue working to resolve the technical issues impacting a small number of airport systems. The City reiterates there is no impact to the airport’s security and operations systems. All airport safety and security operations are functioning as normal. However, email, in-airport flight and baggage displays are currently unavailable. Passengers can find similar flight information online at www.clevelandairport.com or via the airport’s special customer information teams.”
Earlier this year the city of Akron was hacked and a ransom was demanded. They had properly backed up their data. They ignored the threat and restored everything.
Paul Sems is a cyber security expert at TrustedSec. He routinely launches test attacks on his clients systems to make sure there are no gaps.
“It looks like what [the city is] trying to do is, first, isolate all the systems. The second thing is they’re going to figure out how it got in. Then the third thing they’re going to do is start doing the restore,” Sems said.
The Cleveland FBI is investigating the issue, and as the city remains relatively mum on the cause, anonymous reports continue to spread over what triggered the shutdown.