Minneapolis city systems temporarily brought down by cyberattack

Minneapolis city systems temporarily brought down by cyberattack

City government systems in Minneapolis were temporarily brought down by a cyberattack early Thursday at the same time the city was grappling with raging protests over the police killing of George Floyd.

A spokesperson for the city told The Hill that some of the city’s public websites and systems were temporarily shut down by a denial of service (DoS) attack, which involves malicious hackers flooding a server with traffic until it crashes. 

City officials were able to bring back 95 percent of affected websites and systems within hours of the attack, with the spokesperson noting that the city expected 100 percent of systems to be back online by the end of the day. 

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The spokesperson did not identify who was behind the cyberattack on the city or whether it was linked to any protests in the city. The official said there was no evidence that any data was stolen or compromised.

“Although these types of attacks are not completely unavoidable, they are fairly common, and the City of Minneapolis has proactive measures in place to respond to and mitigate disruptions when they do occur,” the spokesperson said. “The City of Minneapolis IT continues to monitor its cyber platforms to ensure further disruption doesn't happen again.”

The cyberattack took place as city officials grappled with a second night of violent protests over the death of Floyd, a black man who was killed by police after an officer placed a knee on his neck to detain him. Some demonstrators looted local stores and clashed with police in the streets, who fired tear gas and rubber bullets.

The attack also took place as state and local governments are increasingly pleading with the federal government to send them funding to address increased cyber threats during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the last year, ransomware attacks, where an attacker locks up a network and demands payment to unlock it, have become more widespread. The city governments of New Orleans and Baltimore have fallen victim to these types of attacks, while school districts in Louisiana and small towns in Texas were also hit by ransomware attacks.