Image: City of Cleveland - City Hall / Facebook

Cleveland confirms ransomware attack as City Hall remains closed

Cleveland’s City Hall will remain closed on Tuesday in the aftermath of a cyberattack that has forced officials to take unnamed systems offline. 

In a statement to Recorded Future News, the city said the incident has been confirmed as a ransomware attack, but they declined to answer specific questions about what services were affected by the attack or what data may have been accessed by the hackers. This is the second week the building has been closed to the public . 

The city said the FBI and the Ohio National Guard’s Cyber Reserve Unit have been involved in the effort to restore IT systems. 

“The nature of the attack is still under investigation while we work to restore and recover our systems,” a spokesperson said. “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.” 

While City Hall was still closed as of Monday, essential city systems facilitating emergency services, waste collection, water, power and the city airport were not affected. Late on Monday, officials announced that City Hall will be closed again on Tuesday. 

Signal Cleveland reported that wireless internet is still down at City Hall and Wi-Fi hotspots have been distributed so that employees can continue working. Despite the outages, employees were paid this week, the news outlet reported. 

Officials urged those in need of birth or death certificates to submit applications online or go to City Hall offices in Parma and Lakewood. The statement did not say when systems will be fully restored. 

A spokesperson added that attacks on city and county governments have increased 50% over the last six months — representing a “stark reality that no organization is immune to the costs and consequences of operating in the digital world.” 

Multiple cities and counties have reported incidents in the last two months. On Monday, a ransomware gang claimed it stole documents from the Kansas City Police Department and cities like Wichita, Kansas have struggled for weeks to respond to incidents that have crippled everything from the airport Wi-Fi to police department databases

After more than a month of outages, Wichita said Monday that many city systems are back to normal. Water metering, billing and payment processing systems are coming back online and the city is now able to take credit card payments. 

Municipal court customer service staff now have access to docket and warrant information but payments for fines and fees still need to be made with cash or check. The city’s library system, meanwhile, is still only able to check out books manually. 

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Jonathan Greig

Jonathan Greig

is a Breaking News Reporter at Recorded Future News. Jonathan has worked across the globe as a journalist since 2014. Before moving back to New York City, he worked for news outlets in South Africa, Jordan and Cambodia. He previously covered cybersecurity at ZDNet and TechRepublic.