Bristol airport takes flight screens offline after apparent ransomware attack
Cyber Security

Bristol airport takes flight screens offline after apparent ransomware attack

The screens in “key locations” are back up and running again, while the airport paid no ransom to return its systems to working order

Bristol Airport in South West England has been hit by an apparent ransomware attack that prompted the airport to take flight information screens offline in an effort to keep the attack contained, the BBC reports.

The airport announced on Twitter early on Friday that it was “experiencing technical problems with our flight information screens”.

“We believe there was an online attempt to target part of our administrative systems and that required us to take a number of applications offline as a precautionary measure, including the one that provides our data for flight information screens,” said the airport’s spokesman James Gore. “That was done to contain the problem and avoid any further impact on more critical systems,” he added.

The screens in key locations, such as in arrivals and departures halls, weren’t back in working order until early on Sunday. According to this post on Twitter, which is the airport’s most recent as of the time of writing, the airport continued to work on Sunday to “restore complete site-wide coverage”.

While coming to grips with the malware infection, the airport resorted to contingency measures, such as using whiteboards and marker pens, as well as poster papers, to display arrival and departure information.

No arrivals or departures were affected due to what Gore described as “speculative”, rather than a targeted attack. Likewise, the airport’s safety and security systems were never impacted or at risk, he said. No ransom was paid to get the systems working back again.

You needn’t go far back in history to find examples of airports battling cyberattacks. This past March, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which is the world’s busiest, took the precaution of shutting down its free WiFi network and disabling some of its website’s functionalities after the city government’s computer network fell victim to a ransomware attack.

In 2017, two Ukrainian airports were among those affected by highly-publicized attacks. Kiev’s airport was among the victims of a Petya semi-clone in June, while the airport in Odessa had to come to grips with the attack of Bad Rabbit in October.

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