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Ransomware hits UK's Bristol Airport

Staff Writer |
When travelers at Bristol Airport in the U.K. looked at flight information screens over the weekend, they saw a blue screen with white lettering.

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"OUT OF SERVICE We are sorry for the inconvenience. Our Engineers are currently working to resolve the issue as soon as possible."

Officials for the U.K.’s ninth busiest airport blamed it on a ransomware attack. The airport chose to take the electronic screens that normally direct travelers offline on Friday as a “precautionary measure” while they worked to “contain the problem.”

Arrival and departure information was instead posted on whiteboards and announced over the public speaker system over the weekend.

Bristol Airport tweeted about the “technical problems” with the flight information screens, making it clear that flights were unaffected.

While airport spokesman James Gore did not specify what ransomware variant hit the airport, he told the BBC that Bristol Airport would not pay the undisclosed ransom demand to get the system working.

The flight screens were offline starting Friday morning, all of Saturday, and into the wee hours of Sunday. Gore blamed the long downtime on a “cautious approach” as IT rebuilt affected systems, but “at no point were any safety or security systems impacted or put at risk.”

The airport released a statement to the press about the administrative systems being subjected to an “on-line criminal attempt. A number of processes, including the application providing data for flight information screens in the terminal, were taken off line purely as a precautionary measure, while the problem was contained and to avoid any further impact.”

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