City officials in Cleveland forced to cut network access due to cyberattack


Government Cyberattack Forces City of Cleveland to Cut Off Public Access to City Hall

Hackers infiltrated the government networks of the City of Cleveland, Ohio, forcing officials to cut off public access to City Hall on Wednesday. Security teams had already shut down IT systems during Monday’s attack in an attempt to contain the damage.

In an update on the social media platform X on Tuesday evening, Cleveland officials said that security teams first became aware of “abnormalities” in the city’s IT environment on Monday. After taking “precautionary actions to contain those abnormalities” which involved cutting off access to city systems, the City said it has been busy “investigating the nature and scope of the incident.”

The update also made sure to inform the City’s more than 360,000 residents that all emergency services, including 911 call centers, police and fire departments, as well as EMS services are all operating normally. Cleveland is Ohio’s second largest city after Columbus, the state capital.

According to the latest update, Cleveland’s City Hall and ErieView Plaza, shuttered in the wake of the attack, will reopen on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. CT – but only to employees. By late Wednesday, the city decided to close down City Hall to non-employees, at least for the rest of the week, and has advised residents to postpone City Hall business until IT systems are fully operational.

As for the possibility of threat actors having gained unauthorized access to sensitive data, officials have confirmed that “certain City data” was unaffected, including taxpayer information held by the CCA and customer information held by Public Utilities.

Cyberattacks on cities across the United States have been an escalating issue, exemplified by the recent incident that forced Cleveland City Hall to shut down. Paul Laudanski, Director of Security Research at cybersecurity solutions firm Onapsis, highlighted the potential for cyber incidents to disrupt public services.

The city is collaborating with key partners to address the cyberattack and will continue to provide updates on social media. The incident underscores the persistent vulnerabilities in municipal cybersecurity and the need for robust defensive measures.

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