Not Even the Martha’s Vineyard Ferry Is Safe From Ransomware Attacks

Another worrying ransomware incident

Martha's Vineyard Ferry
Deck of the Martha's Vineyard Ferry.
m01229, CC BY 2.0

We live in an increasingly interconnected world, and one in which technology facilitates many aspects of everyday life. Most of the time, that’s a good thing — or at least a convenient thing. But as with every kind of system, there’s also an ongoing effort to disrupt it for reasons of profit, ideology or some combination of the two. And that’s how you get to our current status quo, where ransomware attacks can lead to things like gasoline shortages or issues at meat plants.

The latest high-profile victim of a ransomware plot is, unfortunately, all too seasonally appropriate. The system that runs the Martha’s Vineyard Ferry was disrupted by a ransomware attack earlier this week. CNN’s Jordan Valinsky reports that the Steamship Authority that governs the ferries that convey people to Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Cape Cod was affected by one such attack.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that, at the time of the report, no ferries had been canceled; instead, an advisory from the agency noted that travelers might experience some sort of delay when traveling.

So far, the response has been swift, with the Coast Guard, FBI and Massachusetts State Police Cyber Security Unit all involved in an investigation as to the causes of the attack. And while this particular attack seems less ominous than some other instances of ransomware attacks in the last year or two, it still helps to demonstrate how incidents like this can spark inconvenience and frustration on a substantial level.


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