National News

Cleveland acknowledges for first time Hopkins airport hack involved ransomware

CLEVELAND, Ohio – All of last week, Mayor Frank Jackson’s administration downplayed the nature of the malfunctions that disabled flight and baggage information screens at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, sources said.

The computer system that run the screens, which went dark last Monday, were compromised by a form malware that sought a ransom from the city, multiple sources told Airport officials, however, did not respond to any such demands.


How Cybercriminals hold data hostage…and why the best solution is often paying a ransom

This past week Cleveland’s airport began to recover from a computer attack that took down its flight information, baggage displays, and its email. The FBI says it was another ransomware attack on a sensitive government network. Ransomware locks up a victim’s files until a ransom is paid. More and more, critical public service networks are the targets. Before Cleveland, the city governments of Newark, Atlanta and Sarasota were hit and San Francisco’s transit authority; the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Port of San Diego. Today, 26 percent of cities and counties say they fend off an attack on their networks every hour. Perhaps even worse, dozens of hospitals have been held hostage across the country.


Ransomware: Prevent your computer from being infected

The cities of Newark, Atlanta, and Sarasota have been hit. So have Cleveland’s airport and San Francisco’s transit authority. When the cyberattack targeted Leeds, Alabama, its mayor had no access to email, personnel files, or financial systems.
This week on “60 Minutes,” correspondent Scott Pelley reports on the growing cyber threat called ransomware, a type of malware that locks up a victim’s files and denies access to a computer system until money is paid with a digital currency that is hard to trace. While Pelley’s report focuses on the effects of ransomware, the experts he spoke with said most attacks can be prevented.