City and agencies confer with other hacking targets

Dec. 20—Honolulu transportation officials continue to restore online services shut down by a ransomware attack—collaborating with other entities that have fallen victim on how to best fortify systems against the barrage of cyber assaults.

The city transportation serv ­ices network intrusions and disruptions on Dec. 9 infiltrated online serv ­ices for TheBus, TheHandi-Van, TheBus app and its Holo card system.

City information technology officials speculate the attack was the work of hackers affiliated with Russia but acknowledge the investigation into the incident by the FBI, Honolulu police and U.S. Secret Service is ongoing. A warning not to interfere while the hackers infiltrated OTS systems was allegedly connected to a Russian email address.

Separately last week, an apparent ransomware attack infiltrated and shut down the time-keeping services for employees at the Board of Water Supply and Emergency Medical Services—part of a nationwide offensive on public and private networks that could take weeks to fix.

Over the past year, scheduling, real-time location services, and operating systems for buses and paratransit services in five other municipal transportation entities have also come under attack.

“We don’t have any specific knowledge of targeted information, but are collaborating with other transit agencies and authorities who have experienced similar cyber-attacks in the past year, ” Travis Ota, spokesman for the city Department of Transportation Services, in a statement to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

The city and OTS are working with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Santa Clara Valley (Calif.) Transportation Authority, Dallas Area Rapid Transit and Ann Arbor (Mich.) Area Transportation Authority to understand the system disruption.

The Cyber Security Infrastructure and Security Agency determined that Chinese government cyber actors compromised New York’s MTA.

“The Transportation Systems Sector faces a multitude of cyber threats at the hands of criminals, hackers, insiders, and nation-state actors, ” according to an October presentation by Benjamin Gilbert, CISA cybersecurity adviser, Region…