ATL Takes Wi-Fi Offline After Hackers Breach City Servers
The busiest airport in the world has gone off-the-grid – at least where Internet is concerned.
Soon after a cyber ransomware attack shut down the City of Atlanta's network servers on Thursday, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) proactively shut down parts of its website, as well as Wi-Fi access throughout the airport. As of 4pm Friday, access had not yet been restored.
A prominent message on the airport's website, as well as notices posted throughout the airport itself, inform travelers that ATL is "currently experiencing website difficulties. Security line wait times and flight information may not be accurate." Passengers are encouraged to check directly with their airlines for up-to-date travel information, and flights have not affected by the network outage.
The "ransomware" attack refers to a type of malicious software, which shuts down compromised networks until a ransom sum is paid. The security breach is currently under investigation by a number of federal law enforcement agencies aiding local officials, including the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Secret Service.
Because many free, public Wi-Fi networks do not offer data security or encryption, hackers can easily access private information, and the airport has taken preventative action to prevent additional breaches during this time. “While we aren’t directly affected by the cyberattack, we are being abundantly cautious and have taken these systems offline,” airport spokesperson Reese McCranie said.