Two major global ports have been targeted by ransomware attackers in the space of one week, once again putting the shipping industry on high alert.
On 20 September, the Port of Barcelona stated via Twitter that it had fallen victim to a cyber attack and warned that its operations could be subject to delay while officials resolved the situation. The next day, it issued a public statement to assure customers that the port was functioning as normal despite disruption to its IT systems.
The Port of San Diego subsequently suffered a cyber attack of its own on 25 September. According to a statement from the port, the hack comprised computer systems – though ships have been able to enter and leave as normal.
“The investigation has detected that ransomware was used in this attack,” says Port of San Diego CEO Randa Coniglio. “The Port can also now confirm that the ransom note requested payment in Bitcoin, although the amount that was requested is not being disclosed.”
The Port of San Diego is partnering with the FBI and the US Department of Homeland Security to investigate the incident. It’s unclear whether the attacks in San Diego and Barcelona are linked.
The industry’s last high-profile cyber attack occurred in late July, with hackers temporarily disabling Cosco’s email and telephone networks in the Americas.