The Port of San Diego is still operating as normal, but it’s business computers have been hit with a ransomware attack & they are working with authorities.  This example illustrates the dangers associated with these malicious attacks & the need for best preventative practices:

The Port of San Diego has been hit with a ransomware attack that took down some of its computers.  The attack, first noticed on Tuesday, knocked offline IT systems that handle issuing park permits, receiving public records requests, and administering other business services. The port itself remains open. “Public safety operations are ongoing and ships and boats continue to access the Bay,” Port of San Diego

It isn’t clear which ransomware strain struck the port, which declined to answer questions about the attack. However, the hacker’s ransom note demanded payment in Bitcoin to free the infected computers. The port refrained from disclosing the amount.

Ransomware infects a computer with malicious code that locks the computer down. To free the system, victims are asked to pay up, usually in a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. Security experts warn against paying these ransoms, however; sometimes it’s just a lost cause and there’s no way to unlock ransomed systems.

Hackers typically attack via phishing emails or by breaching online systems protected by weak passwords. The Port of San Diego administers 34 miles along San Diego Bay, so a ransomware attack could’ve had disastrous consequences had spiraled out of control.