The Port of Houston was targeted last month by an unsuccessful hack, allegedly carried out by nation-state hackers, ABC News reports.
The Gulf Coast port, one of the most critical in the region, issued a statement on Thursday confirming that it had managed to prevent a breach of its systems by the attempted hacking, declaring that “no operational data or systems were impacted.”
Jen Easterly, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), additionally confirmed the attempted breach during a hearing before the U.S. Senate on Thursday, commenting that she believed it was a “nation-state actor” behind the attack.
“We are working very closely with our interagency partners and the intelligence community to better understand this threat actor,” Easterly said, “so that we can ensure that we are not only able to protect systems, but ultimately to be able to hold these actors accountable.”
The hack targeted ManageEngine ADSelfService Plus, a password management program utilized by the Port of Houston. The software was the subject of a joint statement issued last week by the CISA, the FBI, and the U.S. Coast Guard, warning that weaknesses in the program “pose a serious risk” to all companies who use it. ManageEngine counts among its clients numerous infrastructure companies and defense contractors, among others.
Increasing hack attacks and other cybersecurity threats have become a major focus under the Biden Administration, which has seen numerous such attacks and breaches carried out on its watch. Among the most prominent examples are a hacking of the Microsoft Exchange email software carried out by Chinese hackers, and a ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline in the southeastern United States; allegedly carried out by Russian hackers, this attack temporarily shut down the largest pipeline in the country, leading to fuel shortages and spikes in gasoline prices all along the East Coast.