Ransomware attack disrupts ferry service in northeast US

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NEW YORK, June 3, 2021 (BSS/AFP) – Cybercriminals struck a ferry service in the US state of Massachusetts on Wednesday, disrupting service between several upscale northeastern coastal communities.

The Steamship Authority of Massachusetts reported the ransomware attack, which delayed its ferry service between Cape Cod and the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.

“There is no impact to the safety of vessel operations, as the issue does not affect radar or GPS functionality,” the company tweeted as it announced the hack.

The cyberattack did partially disrupt the payment system, which moved to cash as the company said its ability to process credit cards was “limited.”

The Steamship Authority said on Facebook it “continues to work with our team internally, as well as with local, state, and federal officials externally, to address today’s ransomware incident.

“At this point, we are unable to release or confirm specific details of what occurred,” the statement read.

The FBI office in Boston had no immediate comment when contacted by AFP.

Also on Wednesday New York City’s train and bus system, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), said it was hacked on April 20. However it added that little damage was done and that riders were never at risk.

An audit after the attack uncovered no signs that the operating systems had been affected, or that the hackers accessed information of clients or employees, MTA technical chief Rafail Portnoy said.

These latest cyberattack revelations were announced just days after a ransomware attack on the US subsidiary of Brazilian-owned meatpacking giant JBS.

The JBS cyberattack paralyzed some of its operations in the United States and impacted thousands of workers in Australia.

US President Joe Biden said Wednesday he is “looking” at possible retaliation after the White House linked Russia to the JBS attack.

The FBI attributed the cyberattack to “REvil and Sodinokibi,” which experts have said are two names for the same hacking group with ties to Russia.

Last month ransomware hackers forced the temporary shutdown of the huge Colonial fuel pipeline in the eastern United States.

The pipeline’s multi-day shutdown sparked panic buying in some eastern states, and ended when the company paid $4.4 million in ransom to the hackers.

US authorities blamed the attack on a cybercriminal group called DarkSide believed to be based in Russia — something Moscow denies.