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Cyber ‘threat’ closes Cleveland City Hall for second day | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

The cyber incident at Cleveland City Hall did not hit taxpayer or water and power customer data, Mayor Justin Bibb said Monday. 

But officials said little more about the source or scope of the computer system problems that led them to close City Hall on Monday. The city’s offices at 601 Lakeside and the nearby Erieview complex will be closed again Tuesday. 

At a news conference Monday afternoon, officials declined to say whether the incident was a malware or ransomware attack. They said they did not want to compromise their investigation by revealing details. 

“Since yesterday afternoon, we’ve been working around the clock with a multitude of partners to ensure we contain the threat, manage the threat and alleviate the threat,” Bibb said. 

The city has restored phone service and is beginning to restore access to other IT systems, the mayor said.

Despite the office closures, Cleveland is still providing basic services such as police, fire and EMS response, officials said. City airports and utilities are also working, they said. 

The city first discovered “abnormalities” in its IT systems on Saturday, according to Kimberly Roy Wilson, the commissioner of information technology and services.

Police Chief Dorothy Todd acknowledged that the city took down computer-aided emergency dispatch systems as a precaution over the weekend. But first responders were still able to communicate with dispatchers over the radio. 

“We have ensured public safety systems are operational,” Roy Wilson said. “There is no threat to the systems. We also have our utilities and airport systems operational.” 

Bibb and other officials said they were working with “partners” to investigate the incident, but declined to name any specific agencies – such as the FBI, Department of Homeland Security or National Guard – that might be helping. In 2019, Gov. Mike DeWine formed the National Guard’s Ohio Cyber Reserve, a volunteer group of cybersecurity experts.

This is not Cleveland’s first brush with cyber insecurity. In 2019, Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport suffered a hack involving ransomware. That attack affected the computer system that runs the airport’s flight information screens. 

Last month, Bibb hosted one of the White House’s cybersecurity advisors at City Hall. Among other things, they talked about how local governments can protect themselves from cyber threats, he said. 

“We are living it right now,” Bibb said.


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National Cyber Security