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BBT March/April 2019 cover
March/April 2019

Bristol airport blames cyber attack for screen outage

Bristol airport interior

Bristol airport claims a suspected cyber attack caused it to take flight information display screens offline for two days.

Staff resorted to listing flight information on whiteboards starting last Friday (14 September) – similar to a tactic used at Gatwick airport when a damaged fibre cable caused information screens to malfunction in August.

Now, a spokesman for Bristol airport says its screens were taken offline early on Friday to contain a cyber attack, according to the BBC, calling it similar to ransomware, in which a virus threatens to delete files unless a ransom is paid.

Spokesman James Gore commented: “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. 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 issue did not affect flights leaving from the airport on Friday and Saturday and Gore says the attack did not affect safety or security systems. He claims no 'ransom' was paid to stop the attack.

He says the airport decided to take a “cautious approach” to ensure the attack didn’t spread to other critical systems.

All screens are now back online and working as normal, according to Bristol airport.

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