Ransomware

Cleveland Cyberattack Closes City Hall As Public Services Attacks Grow

Cleveland is the latest municipality hit by a cyberattack as threat groups increasingly target public services.

by Paul Shread June 11th, 2024

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The City of Cleveland, Ohio, has been hit by a cyberattack that has closed City Hall and other offices, but the city says essential services remain operational.

The city hasn’t revealed the nature of the incident, but the Cleveland cyberattack is one of the highest-profile ones to date affecting a major U.S. municipality.

In a recent update on X, the city said it is “still investigating the nature and scope of the incident. The City is collaborating with several key partners who provide expert knowledge and deep experience in this work.”

Cleveland Essential Services Functioning

City Hall and offices at Erieview Plaza are closed to the public and non-essential employees, but the city sought to reassure residents that key services and data remain safe.

Emergency services, such as 911, Police, Fire, and EMS are operational, along with other essential services such as water, pollution control, power services, ports and airports.

The update said that “certain City data is confirmed to be unaffected, including:

– Taxpayer information held by the CCA.

– Customer information held by Public Utilities.”

That still leaves other data sources that could be affected, however, such as city employees’ personal data.

In its initial announcement on X, the city said, “We have shut down affected systems to secure and restore services. Emergency services and utilities are not affected. Updates will be provided as available.”

The city hasn’t said whether the incident is ransomware or another cyber attack type, but that will presumably be revealed in later updates.

Cleveland itself is home to 362,000 residents, while the surrounding metropolitan area has a population of more than 2 million.

Cleveland Cyberattack Follows Wichita Ransomware; Healthcare Network Hit

Cleveland isn’t the biggest U.S. city to be hobbled by a cyber attack, as at least a few bigger cities have been hit by cyber incidents.

The 394,000-resident city of Wichita, Kansas was hit by a ransomware attack last month in an attack linked to the LockBit ransomware group, but Baltimore was perhaps the biggest U.S. city hit by a cyberattack in a crippling 2019 incident that closely followed an Atlanta cyberattack.

All of that pales in comparison to the U.S. government, which got hit by more than 32,000 cybersecurity incidents in fiscal 2023, up 10% from fiscal 2022, according to a new White House report on federal cybersecurity readiness.

Threat actors seemingly have no end of targets, as a healthcare network in Texas, Arkansas and Florida is also reporting recent cyber troubles that the BlackSuit ransomware group is claiming responsibility for.

The Special Health Resources network posted a notice on its website (copied below) that states, “We are currently experiencing a network incident that has caused a temporary disruption to our phones and computer systems. During this time, we are STILL OPEN and ready to serve our patients and community!”

Special Health Resources website notice

If Special Health’s troubles are linked to a cyberattack, they seem to have fared better than the damage sustained by NHS London recently, as cyber attackers seemingly have abandoned long-standing pledges to avoid attacking healthcare systems.

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