Sunday, June 23, 2024

Cyberattack causes shutdown at communication, transportation and aviation agencies

The Ministry of Infrastructure, Communications and Transport (SICT) announced Tuesday that it had suspended a range of bureaucratic procedures and other work due to a cyberattack.

In an announcement published in the federal government’s official gazette (DOF), the ministry said that the suspension took effect on Oct. 24 and would remain in force until Dec. 31.

Among the procedures that SICT won’t be completing for the remainder of this year are those related to the issuance and renewal of federal driver’s licenses and the issuance of federal transport permits.

The Federal Civil Aviation Agency (AFAC)– which is part of the ministry – won’t complete procedures related to “authorizations, permits, programs, accreditation, issuance of licenses and training certificates,” SICT said.

Head of Mexico's Ministry of Communications and Transportation with FAA's Billy Nolen
SICT Deputy Minister Jorge Nuño Lara meets with Billy Nolen, acting administrator of the U.S. FAA on October 28 in Washington. SICT’s work moratorium means it will stop issuing permits to airline pilots for the rest of the year.

It also said that psycho-physical examinations for transport operators have been suspended. The usual processing and response times for a wide range of bureaucratic procedures and tasks won’t apply for the rest of the year. SICT and AFAC-issued licenses and permits due to expire between now and the end of the year will remain valid until they can be renewed in 2023.

SICT was the victim of a ransomware attack on October 24, with 110 of the ministry’s computers affected. The work suspension appeared to be related to that attack given that it took effect that day, but the ministry said in the DOF on Tuesday that it had taken action to “protect the systems and information” in light of a cyberattack “identified today.”

It added that “procedures” and “the issuance of federal licenses and certificates for several modes of transport” were affected by the “cyber incident.”

The Ministry of National Defense (Sedena) was also recently targeted by hackers. The Guacamaya hacking group stole a huge trove of emails and documents from Sedena servers and leaked them to media organizations, which have published numerous stories based on the information they received, including ones on López Obrador’s health problems, the government’s plan to create an army-run commercial airline, a soldier’s sale of weapons to a criminal organization and the Mexican military’s planning and operational shortcomings.

With reports from Animal Político 

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