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Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

A hacking group with supposed ties to the Chinese government breached the computer systems of New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority in April, the New York Times reported Wednesday, citing MTA documents.

Why it matters: The revelation comes amid a surge of cyberattacks. "The breach was the third — and most significant — cyberattack on the transit network, North America’s largest, by hackers thought to be connected to foreign governments in recent years," the Times writes.

Details: The group appeared to attack the MTA's systems between two days in April — with the breach continuing until its presence was identified on April 20.

  • The hackers compromised three of 18 transit agency computer systems, officials said in a statement to the Times.
  • They added that the event did not pose a physical risk to riders or dramatically disturb service.
  • Yes, but: The incident "impeded operations, threatened to drain millions of dollars in ransom demands and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in forensic analyses after breaches were identified," the Times writes.

The big picture: It comes amid a significant uptick in cyberattacks on critical infrastructure across the U.S.

  • A ransomware attack on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency in 2016 disrupted ticketing systems for three days.
  • A Philadelphia transit authority's operations were stalled by a ransomware attack last October, with the impact lasting for months.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Scott Rosenberg: Ransomware has recently become a "global pandemic" thanks to the rise of a profitable industry around it. In May, a similar attack on Colonial Pipeline, the U.S.'s largest refined-fuel pipeline operator, sent the Southeast into crisis.

Go deeper: Top meat supplier is the latest victim of a cyberattack.

Go deeper

Jun 2, 2021 - Technology

Massachusetts Steamship Authority hit by ransomware attack

A Steamship Authority ferry approaches the Nantucket Terminal. Photo: Maddie Meyer via Getty Images

The largest ferry service to the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket has been targeted by a ransomware attack that is causing travel delays, the Massachusetts Steamship Authority announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: Ransomware has recently become a "global pandemic" thanks to the rise of a profitable industry around it, Axios' Scott Rosenberg writes. In May, a similar attack on Colonial Pipeline, the U.S.'s largest refined-fuel pipeline operator, sent the Southeast into crisis.

Ransomware business achieves critical mass

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Memorial Day weekend ransomware attack that left the world's largest meat processor hobbled also had CEOs around the globe asking, "Am I next?"

Why it matters: The attack on Brazil-based JBS came just weeks after a similar attack on Colonial Pipeline, the U.S.'s largest refined-fuel pipeline operator. Attacks that disrupt food and energy supplies are the kinds that rouse governments to strike back.

Updated Jun 1, 2021 - Technology

Top meat supplier is the latest victim of a cyberattack

Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Major meat supplier JBS USA was the latest victim of an organized cybersecurity attack, with servers in North America and Australia impacted, the company said Sunday.

Why it matters: JBS USA is the largest producer of beef in the country, The Hill notes, and is a major supplier of poultry and pork. JBS’s five biggest beef plants — which collectively manage a total of 22,500 cattle per day — have paused processing after the weekend attack, according to JBS. The hack has led to one-fifth of U.S. beef production being wiped out, Bloomberg reports.