Port of Houston says it repelled hack attempt by “nation-state actor”

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RICHMOND, Virginia – A major US port was targeted last month by suspected nation-state hackers, officials said.

The Port of Houston, a critical infrastructure along the Gulf Coast, released a statement Thursday saying it had successfully defended itself against a hacking attempt in August and that “no data or operational system had been affected “.

Agency Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Director Jen Easterly initially revealed that the port was the target of an attack during a Senate committee hearing Thursday morning. She said she believed a “nation-state actor” was behind the hack, but did not specify which one.

“We are working closely with our interagency partners and the intelligence community to better understand this threat actor so that we can ensure that we are not only able to protect systems, but ultimately can hold these actors accountable.” , she said.

Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said the hacking was “of concern” and said the United States must “push back those state actors who continue to investigate and commit these crimes against our public and private sector entities. “.

The hack involved ManageEngine ADSelfService Plus, a password management program. The Easterly agency, the FBI and the US Coast Guard have issued a joint council last week, warning that the software vulnerability “poses a serious risk” to critical infrastructure companies, defense contractors and others.

Cyber ​​security has become a key focus of the Biden administration. A devastating wave of cyber attacks has compromised sensitive government records and at times has led to the shutdown of operations of energy companies, hospitals and schools.

SWI SolarWinds,
+ 1.90%
spy campaign, which the US government said was carried out by Russian hackers, exposed the emails of 80% of accounts used by US attorneys’ offices in New York and affected several other departments. The Associated Press reported in June that suspected Chinese state hackers recently targeted telecommunications giant Verizon VZ,
+ 0.67%
and the country’s largest water agency.

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