Ferry system serving Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket hit by cyberattack

cyber attack
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Ransomware attackers have hacked into the ferry system between the Massachusetts mainland and its iconic islands in the latest cyber assault on U.S. infrastructure.

"The Woods Hole, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority has been the target of a ransomware attack that is affecting operations as of Wednesday morning. As a result, customers traveling with us today may experience delays," the authority tweeted. "A team of IT professionals is currently assessing the impact of the attack. Additional information will be provided upon completion of the initial assessment."

While passenger safety is not affected, the effects on the schedule were unclear, though CNN noted that no ferries had been canceled.

"There is no impact to the safety of vessel operations, as the issue does not affect radar or GPS functionality," steamship authority communications director Sean Driscoll told CNBC, adding that it's working with federal, state and to learn how widespread the hack is, and its origin.

The FBI is leading the investigation, Driscoll said, working with the U.S. Coast Guard 1st District and the Massachusetts Cybersecurity Unit.

The attack comes just as the is heating up, with people coming out of a pandemic winter ready to flock to such tourist hot spots.

It's the latest such attack, similar in dynamic if not in scope to the one last month on Colonial Pipeline, which took down operations in a major fuel conduit between Houston and the East Coast. That took nearly $5 million and several days to put right.

It also comes on the heels of a cyberattack discovered Sunday targeting Brazilian meat provider JBS that shut down production of the company's five largest U.S. beef-processing plants.

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