Cyber-attack on Bristol Airport – Ransomware leaving travellers in the dark about their flights!

By Cameron Abbott and Colette Légeret

In response to a cyber-attack on the administrative systems of Bristol airport, believed to be ransomware, the airport took a number of applications down as a precautionary measure, including the application that provides flight data for flight information screens.

This led to the airport being without these applications for two days, causing additional staff to be rostered on to assist anxious travellers and to conduct “manual processes”, including using whiteboards in place of display screens to notify passengers of flight arrival and departure details. In-turn passengers were urged to arrive early and allow extra time for check-in and boarding processes.

An airport spokesman, James Gore, told the BBC that the airport took these applications offline in order to “contain the problem and avoid any further impact on more critical systems” and that “at no point were any safety or security systems impacted or put at risk”, which seems a small consolation.  Mr Gore confirmed that “no ransom” had been paid by the airport to get their systems working again, which sounds correct – hence the time period taken to restore!

Inconvenience, embarrassment and no doubt an expensive restore cost for Bristol airport. Training and preventative systems remain the more economic path – after all, prevention is better than the cure!

Copyright © 2018, K&L Gates LLP. All Rights Reserved.