The major cyber attack rounds off a sorry year for the iconic ferry and cruise company.
Late on Monday morning, Norway's Hurtigruten announced it was the victim of a major IT hack. The ransomware attack has impacted several major systems.
“This is a serious attack. Hurtigruten's global IT infrastructure seems to be affected,” said Ole-Marius Moe-Helgesen, Hurtigruten's executive Vice President for IT, in a statement. He said the company is now working to limit the damage.
The news comes just a few months after the Norwegian parliament was hit by an IT attack.
What we know so far about the Hurtigruten cyber attack
Several systems, including the Norwegian website hurtigruten.no and internal e-mail systems, are down. The company says the problems have likely been caused by a ransomware virus.
“Our main priority now is to ensure safe and good operations for all guests and employees. We are working with all available resources to isolate the effects of the attack and limit the damage it can do,” said Moe-Helgesen.
Aside from this statement, Hurtigruten has declined to comment further. NRK has contacted Nasjonal sikkerhetsmyndighet (the National Security Authority), the national body responsible for alerts and coordination relating to ICT security incidents. The authority stated they knew of the case, but would not comment further.
Such ransomware attacks have declined recently, but they do still happen. The Norwegian Centre for Information Security's Trude Talberg-Furulund told NRK that it's important to detect such attacks as early as possible.
IT hack rounds off a sorry year for Hurtigruten
As with virtually every other travel company around the world, Hurtigruten has been hit hard by the global health crisis.
Although facing a new competitor from next year, the company has long been famous for its daily coastal voyage, which serves dual purpose as a ferry service for goods and local people, and a coastal cruise for international tourists.
But aside from a couple ships used to deliver cargo and medical supplies to small communities in northern Norway on behalf of the Norwegian government, the entire Hurtigruten fleet was out of service for more than two months earlier this year.
The company was then hit by an outbreak one of the first sailings following the travel ban. Many passengers and crew of the MS Roald Amundsen were infected on a short cruise to Svalbard. The company received a fierce backlash from politicians and Norwegian media over its handling of the situation.
The coastal service in 2021
New rival Havila was set to enter the Bergen-Kirkenes-Bergen market in 2021. But due to the current travel situation, the Norwegian government has announced that five Hurtigruten vessels will serve the route in the first quarter of 2021.
This means there will be a Hurtigruten ship calling at ports approximately every other day.
“2020 has been a tough year for everyone who uses the coastal route. I have a great understanding of business and passengers along the coast who have suffered from the limited service. Therefore, it is gratifying that we now have an offer in place that ensures calls almost every other day on the entire coastal route,” said Norway's transport minister Knut Arild Hareide.