Bitcoin [BTC] demanded as ransom after cyber-attack on Port of San Diego

The Port of San Diego was recently hit with a cybersecurity attack, which led to the involvement of the Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI] and the Department of Homeland Security [DHS].

Their systems were hit with a ransomware attack, which led to the attackers asking for their ransom in Bitcoin [BTC]. While how much money was demanded was not revealed, the involvement of the FBI and DHS may suggest that there is sensitive data at stake.

Ransomware is a kind of cyber security attack that locks down the victims’ data and provides a message to them. The message usually contains details on how to pay attackers, who will then proceed to release the data to the victims. The data is held ransom until the user agrees to the attackers terms.

The issue was reported first on 25th September, and was said to have “disrupted the agency’s information technology systems”. However, the Port of San Diego CEO, Randa Coniglio, assured the public that normal Port operations are continuing as usual, as this was mainly an administrative issue.

He stated:

“The Port can also now confirm that the ransom note requested payment in Bitcoin, although the amount that was requested is not being disclosed.”

He also stated that they are working closely with the US Coast Guard on the matter and that they have assembled a team of experts in the industry. This includes local, regional, state and federal partners to “minimize impacts and restore system functionalities”.

The Bay area is one of the United States’ most active ports, handling over 3 million tons of cargo annually. Moreover, the attack has forced the authorities to “proactively shut down” other systems towards the view of security.

Temporarily, the services that are disrupted to the public are in the areas of business services, record requests, and park permits. Coniglio stated that more information will be released as information is available.

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