Maritime Computer Emergency Response Team ADMIRAL dataset ADMIRAL dataset

Publicly disclosed information for this event

Index Number:
Port hit by a ransomware attack.
Day Month Year Country Activity Incident Type
25 September 2018 United States Port Virus/Ransomware


The victim, a critical hub for international maritime trade and commerce, is responsible for facilitating a wide array of activities at the waterfront, including cargo, cruise, and public services. As a strategic point of infrastructure, it is integrated into a larger network of ports and relies heavily on its technology systems to manage operations efficiently.

According to sources, on September 25, 2018, the victim fell prey to a ransomware attack, identified as 'SamSam'. This cybersecurity incident was marked by demands for payment in Bitcoin and is associated with tactics typically linked to a state-sponsored hacker group operating out of Iran. The attack leveraged a highly sophisticated threat vector, aiming to disrupt the victim's technological systems, although the specific scale and origin remain part of an ongoing investigation by federal agencies.

The ramifications of the cyberattack may include substantial financial demands and could have resulted in operational hiccups, though initial reports indicated that cargo safety and traffic operations were not compromised. The incident drew the attention of and an investigation by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.


Port of San Diego

Claimed/Reported Threat Actor




Main impact



Recommendations to Port to reduce Virus/Ransomware risks:

  • Map, understand, patch and secure your exposed assets on the Internet.
  • Implement email filtering systems to detect and block phishing emails.
  • Train your organisation, personnel regularly against these threats.
  • Install efficient Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) tools.
  • Work with your CSIRT organization to better understand the Tactics, Techniques and Procedures used by threat actors.
  • Monitor your IT and OT systems to quickly detect potential pre-ransomware activity.
  • Implement an efficient offline backup policy.
  • Encrypt all sensitive data to avoid further data leaks.
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Disclaimer: the data are provided as is. France Cyber Maritime and the M-CERT take no responsibility for the soundness, quality, precision, nor the eventual attribution made by the referenced URLs. We give a lot of respect and support to the victims of attacks.
Files generated on Monday, 11th December 2023.
ADMIRAL is licensed under the Creative Commons CC-BY-NC license. Copyright © France Cyber Maritime 2023.