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Closed Monday, Cleveland City Hall Confirms Ransomware Attack

A spokeswoman for Mayor Justin Bibb said the breach has been “contained” but couldn’t say whether the city has agreed to, or will consider, paying the ransom. The city is working with the Ohio National Guard and the FBI to investigate.

An exterior view of the City Hall building in Cleveland, Ohio.
Cleveland City Hall. Exterior. January 23, 2023.
Joshua Gunter/TNS
(TNS) — After a week with sparse details, and cryptic references to a “cyber incident” at City Hall, Cleveland officials on Friday admitted that city government systems were hit with a ransomware attack.

The ransomware attack was first uncovered on Sunday, and City Hall has been closed for most of the week to deal with the fallout. It will remain closed to the public on Monday. The city has not said how long the closure could drag on.

Few additional details were shared on Friday by Mayor Justin Bibb’s spokeswoman, but she did say the ransomware has since been “contained.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Ohio National Guard’s Cyber Reserve Unit have been assisting city IT officials in the wake of the attack, according to a Friday news release.

Bibb’s spokeswoman told that she couldn’t say whether Cleveland has agreed to pay the ransom, or will consider paying the ransom. She also declined to say how much the ransom request might have been. She said there was little she could disclose to the public because of the ongoing investigation.

City officials are still working to restore and recover computer systems — efforts that have taken weeks, even months, in other U.S. cities that have fallen victim to similar attacks. Some cities have paid millions to restore their systems.

“We continue to take this matter very seriously and are working diligently to assess the full extent of the attack on our systems. We have taken immediate steps to validate our cybersecurity measures and are working to fully restore our systems as quickly as possible,” the release stated.

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