Cleveland Cyberattack Forces the City to Shut Down IT Systems

Written by Gabby Lee

June 12, 2024

Cleveland Cyberattack Forces the City to Shut Down IT Systems

The Cleveland CyberAttack Forces Disruption of Essential Public Services

The city of Cleveland, a major economic hub in Ohio, was hit by a significant cyberattack this week that prompted authorities to take down citizen-facing IT systems and services. Cleveland is home to over 2 million people and is a vital center for healthcare, manufacturing, finance, logistics, education, and technology in the state.

On June 10th, Cleveland officials first disclosed that public services had to be reduced to only essential operations due to “a cyber incident.” In a statement published on its official channels, the city explained the situation was still under active investigation with help from external cybersecurity experts. As a precaution against this Ohio city cyber incident, both City Hall and the Erieview offices remained closed for a second day on June 11th.

Taxpayer and Utility Customer Data Remain Intact

According to updates from the city’s IT Commissioner Kim Roy Wilson, the investigation so far found that taxpayer information held by the Cleveland Area Alliance and customer data from various public utilities were not accessed by the attackers. This provided some relief amid the disruption and uncertainty caused by the “abnormal activity” detected in Cleveland’s IT systems.

Essential Services Remain Operational

Officials were quick to emphasize that critical services like emergency 911 response, police and fire departments, utilities, EMS and healthcare, and airport operations at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and Burke Lakefront Airport had not experienced any downtime or technical issues due to the cyber incident. Residents were advised to call 311 for assistance with any city-related matters until further notice.

Cleveland CyberAttack Source and Impact Remain Unclear

As of now, no ransomware or hacker groups have taken credit for carrying out the cyberattack on Cleveland. Commissioner Wilson stated details are being withheld to not jeopardize the investigation currently underway with outside help. He asked citizens to be patient if they need documents or services from impacted departments. The full scope of the intrusion and any data or systems compromised have not been publicly shared yet.

This Cleveland cyberattack comes amid a rising tide of ransomware and data breach incidents targeting governments, critical infrastructure, and major corporations worldwide in the past year. Only a thorough technical analysis will reveal the root cause and allow Cleveland authorities to shore up any vulnerabilities exploited. But the city was fortunate essential public services did not suffer worse disruptions from this cyber incident.

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