The flight information (FIDS) and gate information (GIDS) screens went out of service last week at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport after a ransomware attack on the passenger-facing systems.
The screens went dark a week ago, and the airport’s CIO said this morning that it was still working to get them all back online.
Wow! Cleveland airport hijacked.. not a plane, the whole airport! https://t.co/NzenSNFTvU
— bill levin (@billjlevin) April 25, 2019
Due to a technical issue, our flight information screens are currently unavailable, please check our website for your flight info: https://t.co/YIIpn605lB. Flights are NOT impacted by this issue.
— Cleveland Hopkins (@goingplacesCLE) April 23, 2019
There were conflicting stories and denials of the ransomware demands – as in “Pay us money if you want your screens re-enabled” – through the week.
The local news website cleveland.com reported on multiple sources that the system had indeed been, effectively, hacked. To its credit, the airport says it ignored the demands and fixed the problem without caving to any demand for money.
Cleveland’s Chief Information Officer Donald Phillips told cleveland.com that the city did not intend to mislead the public – and the media – about the problem.
“We were giving you what we knew at the time,” he said.
Phillips acknowledged that he considers the malware involved to be form of ransomware. He said the city was asked by the malware to respond to an email address for more information about the hack but the city did not respond.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.