Washington State Department of Transportation working to recover from cyberattack


Washington’s State Department of Transportation is recovering from a cyberattack that is causing a range of issues for local ferries and apps used for maps.

The issues began on Tuesday morning, when the department’s website, cameras and app went down. The department’s IT team began working on the issue and started an investigation.

Everything from travel maps to traffic cameras, ferry vessel video feeds, mountain pass reports, online freight permits and more were affected by the incident.

“The outages were caused by a security incident Tuesday that appeared aimed at interrupting the flow of travel-related information. There is no indication any other systems were affected and the cause is under investigation,” a spokesperson said in a Wednesday notice on Facebook.

The department shared traffic closures and other vital information throughout the day on social media sites as the website was still down.

By Thursday afternoon, parts of the website were back up and running but a banner noted that certain pages were still down.

“Traffic and mountain pass cameras have been restored on our app but not on the website. Our travel map, mobile app, ferry vessel watch & online freight permits remain out of service. Work to restore them while safeguarding the systems continues,” they said.

“The cause of the incident is under investigation. We know this disruption is frustrating, we rely on the same disrupted tools & systems in our own travels. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to get this issue resolved.”

Ferry schedules and mountain pass conditions are available on other platforms but commercial vehicle permits need to be submitted in person at one of 13 locations across the state.

The department did not respond to requests for comment about whether they were dealing with a ransomware incident.

This is far from the first time the state has dealt with widespread outages due to cyberattacks. Last year’s ransomware attack on CommonSpirit Health — one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the U.S. — affected three hospitals in the state.

The Washington Department of Licensing dealt with a security breach of its IT system that exposed the personal data of hundreds of thousands of licensed professionals.

In March, a public transportation system serving parts of the state confirmed to Recorded Future News that a ransomware attack disrupted some of its systems.

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Jonathan Greig is a Breaking News Reporter at Recorded Future News. Jonathan has worked across the globe as a journalist since 2014. Before moving back to New York City, he worked for news outlets in South Africa, Jordan and Cambodia. He previously covered cybersecurity at ZDNet and TechRepublic.


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