Cybercrime , Fraud Management & Cybercrime , Incident & Breach Response

Cleveland Cyber Incident Prompts Shutdown of City IT Systems

Emergency Services Such as 911 Have Remained Operational, City Says
Cleveland Cyber Incident Prompts Shutdown of City IT Systems
Cleveland city officials said they're investigating a cyber incident. (Image: Shutterstock)

Officials launched an investigation into a cyber incident that forced the city of Cleveland, Ohio, to shut down its information technology systems this week, according to a Tuesday announcement.

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The city said it is working to understand the nature and scope of the incident after detecting abnormalities in its IT environment on Monday.

"Out of an abundance of caution we cut off access to city systems," the announcement read. Emergency services such as 911 have remained in effect throughout the incident, as well as trash collection, grass cutting and recreation programs. The city's municipal court system was also not affected by the incident.

It remains unclear whether the system shutdown stems from a cyberattack, but the city provided a steady stream of updates Monday about what systems remained unaffected. Officials said local taxpayer information, as well as customer information held by local utilities, were not affected in the incident.

The city was kicking off its summer programs the day the incident occurred, though it remains unclear whether the IT shutdown caused any disruptions in those sessions.

"We will be able to determine the length of this event as more information is learned through the investigation," the announcement says, adding: "Upon discovering the incident, we took immediate action to contain any abnormalities."

Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb initially referred to the incident as a "breach" during a Monday media briefing, according to local news outlets. But the city's IT commissioner later described the incident as a "cyber event" and stated that officials would not disclose further details to avoid compromising the investigation.

"You’re seeing this happen all across the country from city governments to large Fortune 500 companies, to large health care companies as well," Bibb told reporters. "We wanted to make sure that we contain, manage and get back to business as quickly as possible."

About the Author

Chris Riotta

Chris Riotta

Managing Editor, GovInfoSecurity

Riotta is a journalist based in Washington, D.C. He earned his master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he served as 2021 class president. His reporting has appeared in NBC News, Nextgov/FCW, Newsweek Magazine, The Independent and more.

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