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Cybercriminals Demand Ransom in BTC in San Diego Attack

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Port of San Diego attack

The IT department of the Port of San Diego battled a cybersecurity breach this week.

The Port of San Diego disclosed that a ransomware attack affected its systems. The attackers demanded payment in Bitcoin before they would decrypt the files.

Major Attack on Port of San Diego

Randa Coniglio is the chief executive officer of the Port. Coniglio said that they reported the breach that disrupted their IT systems in September. The cybercriminals demanded ransom but the CEO did not reveal the amount they demanded.

Coniglio said, “As previously stated, the investigation has detected that ransomware was used in this attack,” and, “The Port can also now confirm that the ransom note requested payment in Bitcoin, although the amount that was requested is not being disclosed.”

FBI Steps In

Due to the severity of the breach, the facility enlisted the assistance of the authorities. The U.S. DHS (Department of Homeland Security) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are now involved in the investigation..

The port is also in close communication with the U.S. Coast Guard.

The attack disrupted the Port’s IT systems that handles approximately 3 million tons of cargo each year. Hackers shut down several of these systems while some remained operational.

Coniglio said, “The temporary impacts on service to the public are in the areas of park permits, public records requests, and business services.”

According to Kaspersky Labs, ransomware is still a common occurrence but shows a 22.5% decline.

Earlier Cases

In addition to the attack on the Port of San Diego, more reported cases involving ransomware exist. Midland, a Canadian town paid ransom in BTC to the cybercriminals and hackers who successfully breached its network.

Additionally, hackers infiltrated the servers of the PGA (Professional Golfers Association) of America. They decrypted files that were mostly creative material for use in digital marketing.  Furthermore, hackers used the SamSam ransomware to obtain BTC worth more than US$6 million since 2015. This is according to a report by Sophos the well-known cybersecurity firm.

 

 

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