Ferry Operator Serving Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard Attacked With Ransomware

The Massachusetts Steamship Authority, which operates ferries serving the summer hot spots Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Cape Cod, announced on Twitter Wednesday (June 2) that it was the target of ransomware that, among other effects, limited the authority’s ability to process electronic payments.

A tweet at 9:34 a.m. Eastern time stated, “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. A team of IT professionals is currently assessing the impact of the attack. Additional information will be provided upon completion of the initial assessment.”

Later tweets provided updates on service, which continued throughout the day.

An early afternoon tweet assured customers that travel on the authority’s ships is safe, but added, “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.”

The tweet continued, “If traveling with the Authority today, cash is preferred for all transactions. The availability of credit card systems to process vehicle and passenger tickets, as well as parking lot fees, is limited.”

A woman identifying herself as Gwyneth Wallace, commenting on a Facebook post by the Martha’s Vineyard Times, wrote: “Scary! I’m in standby and had to pay cash-couldn’t process a credit card. That being said, boats, loading etc. is still running smoothly.”

Fox News reported that local, state and federal agencies are helping to investigate the attack and the extent of the damage it had caused.

The attack also knocked out the authority’s website, which as of 4:30 p.m. Eastern time provided only the simple message: “The Steamship Authority’s website is currently unavailable. We are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

Ransomware attacks are rapidly on the rise, especially in recent weeks. On Tuesday (June 1), JBS USA, the largest meat processor in the world, suffered an organized attack, PYMNTS reported. Last month, there was an attack on the Colonial Pipeline, which revealed just how vulnerable our systems are to bad actors.

Also last month, PYMNTS reported on the ways cyberattackers are taking advantage of opportunities found along the supply chain.