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City Hall 'cyber incident' identified as ransomware attack

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Posted at 7:00 PM, Jun 14, 2024

The City of Cleveland publicly acknowledged for the first time on Friday that a ransomware attack is what's behind the closing of City Hall and the stoppage of some city services this week.

City Hall will remain closed to the public on Monday.

Mayor Justin Bibb's administration said in a statement:

Following a weeklong investigation led by the City’s IT Department with support from external cybersecurity experts including the FBI and the Ohio National Guard’s Cyber Reserve Unit, the cyber incident that disrupted the City of Cleveland’s IT systems has been confirmed as a ransomware attack.

The nature of the attack is still under investigation while we work to restore and recover our systems. At this time, we cannot disclose anything further. While the threat has been identified and contained, this continues to be a sensitive and ongoing matter.

Over the last six months, attacks of this type have increased by 50+ percent, a stark reality that no organization is immune to the costs and consequences of operating in the digital world.

We continue to take this matter very seriously and are working diligently to assess the full extent of the attack on our systems. We have taken immediate steps to validate our cybersecurity measures and are working to fully restore our systems as quickly as possible.

For Monday, June 17, 2024, City Hall will remain closed to the public. Despite the temporary closure of City Hall, essential city services, including waste collection, recreation centers, operations at the airport, Cleveland Public Power, Water and Water Pollution Control, are functioning and operating normally to ensure the continued well-being and safety of our residents.

Residents who are requesting birth or death certificates are encouraged to submit applications online ... through the Ohio Department of Health at https://odh.ohio.gov/know-our-programs/vital-statistics/how-to-order-certificates. If residents prefer to request a copy in person, Parma and Lakewood city halls can assist with birth certificates for births that occurred in Ohio.

We appreciate the understanding and cooperation of the community during this critical period as we work to fully restore operations and safeguard the integrity of our digital systems.

This statement was edited slightly to remove a link that was not working correctly. The edit is indicated with the ellipsis.

A long week

On Sunday, the City of Cleveland notified residents that City Hall and satellite offices would be closed due to what it called a "cyber incident."

The city attempted to reopen City Hall on Wednesday to provide residents with services, but they faced many technical issues.

City Hall only open to employees Thursday and Friday due to ongoing 'cyber incident'

City officials say "abnormalities" were first spotted on Saturday — seven days ago.

Mayor Justin Bibb and other city officials declined to explain the nature of the threat facing the city during a press conference earlier this week.

Cleveland City Hall closed through Tuesday due to 'cyber incident,' city says

The City of Akron faced a ransomware attack in 2019.

Chief Technology Manager Darren Rozenek said it took eight to ten days to restore the city's systems because they had to remove and repair problems and put safeguards in place.

He said the "bad actors" who attacked Akron's systems stole financial data and then sold the information. They have yet to be caught.

Cleveland remains paralyzed by cyberattack
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