Tue, 11 Dec 2018
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Cyber attack shuts flight display screens at Bristol Airport

By Sheetal Sukhija, Colorado State News
17 Sep 2018, 23:54 GMT+10

BRISTOL, U.K. - Blaming a ransomware attack, the Bristol Airport has said that its administrative systems were targetted after the flight display screens at the airport failed for two days.

The failure of the digital screens at the airport caused a lot of chaos as passengers were forced to wait for airport authorities to manually write down timings, schedules and changes on white boards.

In a statement, an airport spokesman has stated that the information screens were taken offline early on Friday to contain what looked like a "ransomware" attack.

After two long days, airport authorities confirmed that the screens were working again at "key locations" including in departures and arrivals, they pointed out that no ransom was paid to get the systems operational again.

After the first set of screens became operational, officials said that work was ongoing to restore the whole site.

In a statement, Bristol Airport Spokesman James Gore said, "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."

Gore added, "That was done to contain the problem and avoid any further impact on more critical systems. The indications are that this was a speculative attempt rather than targeted attack on Bristol Airport."

The airport spokesperson however, clarified that flights were unaffected, and that authorities had put contingency measures in place, in the form of "manual processes" that he said included whiteboards and marker pens.

Gore said, "At no point were any safety or security systems impacted or put at risk," adding that it had taken "longer than people might have expected" to rectify due to a "cautious approach."

He further noted, "Given the number of safety and security critical systems operating at an airport, we wanted to make sure that the issue with the flight information application that experienced the problem was absolutely resolved before it was put back online."

In a ransomware attack, hackers instal a malware or a computer virus that threatens to delete files unless the ransom amount quoted by attackers is paid by the victim.

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