Ransomware attack disrupts Massachusetts ferries

A ransomware attack has caused delays and disruptions at Steamship Authority, the largest ferry service in Massachusetts, and has disrupted ferry transports between mainland US and the Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket islands.

The attack took place earlier today, according to a series of tweets posted on the company's official Twitter account.

Steamship Authority said the incident impacted its land-based IT systems and that ships are not impacted.

"There is no impact to the safety of vessel operations, as the issue does not affect radar or GPS functionality," a Steamship Authority spokesperson said.

"Scheduled trips to both islands continue to operate, although customers may experience some delays during the ticketing process."

"Customers are currently unable to book or change vehicle reservations online or by phone. Existing vehicle reservations will be honored at Authority terminals, and rescheduling and cancellation fees will be waived," it added.

The company has asked travelers to come prepared with cash on hand as "availability of credit card systems to process vehicle and passenger tickets, as well as parking lot fees, is limited."

Ransomware groups are making a mess of things

The disruption caused by today's attack comes just two days after a ransomware attack on Brazilian company JBS has disrupted meat production across Australia and the US.

The incident also comes weeks after another ransomware attack crippled a crucial fuel pipeline that supplied most of the US East Coast.

Both the JBS and Colonial Pipeline incidents have caused major issues in the US and have even been included in daily White House national security briefings, underscoring the growing threat coming from ransomware gangs in recent times.

In press conferences last month, US President Joe Biden said he would bring up the topic of ransomware gangs operating with impunity out of Russia's territory with Russian President Vladimir Putin in an upcoming meeting.

In April this year, a coalition named the Ransomware Task Force submitted an 80-page report to the Biden administration with suggestions on how the US could deter and go after ransomware gangs.

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Catalin Cimpanu

Catalin Cimpanu

is a cybersecurity reporter who previously worked at ZDNet and Bleeping Computer, where he became a well-known name in the industry for his constant scoops on new vulnerabilities, cyberattacks, and law enforcement actions against hackers.