Malware Takes Out Passenger Information Screens At Cleveland’s Airport

April 29, 2019 by Dave Haynes

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.

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 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 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.


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