(SAN DIEGO) — The Port of San Diego said Wednesday it is investigating a highly sophisticated cybersecurity threat to its technology systems that is affecting the public agency’s ability to process park permits and records requests, and perform other business services, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
The digital assault is similar, in some ways, to a ransomware attack that was launched against the city of Atlanta in March, security analysts say. The hackers were able to shut down many services, including people’s ability to pay traffic tickets and water bills. The attackers — who sought bitcoins as ransom — also temporarily knocked out wireless communications at the Atlanta airport.
The San Diego Harbor Police Department, the law enforcement arm of the port, is also affected by the attack and is said to be using alternative technology systems.
Established in 1962, the port is a self-funded agency with 569 employees that oversees 34 miles of San Diego Bay waterfront property. It plays an integral role in public safety with its connection to the Harbor Police, and its operation of cargo and cruise terminals. The district spans five cities and houses 800 businesses, with tenants such as General Dynamics NASSCO, the last major shipbuilder on the West Coast.
The agency did not disclose the exact nature of the breach or provide any details, except to note that it first received reports of a disruption on Tuesday. Its impact is also unclear, though port tenants don’t appear to be affected by the breach.
“So far, no one has been impacted,” said Sharon Bernie-Cloward, president of the San Diego Port Tenants Association.
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