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Ransomware Attack on Aviation Services Firm Swissport Leads to Flight Delays

Aviation services company Swissport on Friday said it was targeted in a cyberattack that has caused some disruption to its operations.

The Switzerland-based company provides airport ground services and air cargo handling, with operations at 285 airports in 45 countries. Last year, Swissport said it had served 97 million airline passengers and handled more than 5 million tons of air freight.

On February 4, Swissport said on Twitter that its IT infrastructure was hit by ransomware.

Swissport ransomware

The company told SecurityWeek in a statement on Monday that the breach was detected on February 3 and that it has been contained.

“The affected infrastructure was quickly taken offline and manual workarounds or fallback systems have remained operational. A full system clean-up and recovery is now underway and we do not expect any significant delays,” Swissport stated.

Swissport’s website is now back online after it was inaccessible when the attack was disclosed.

The company could not share any information on the type of ransomware used or whether the attackers had managed to steal any data.

It’s unclear how many airports are impacted by the incident, but German publication Der Spiegel learned that the attack caused some temporary delays at Zurich Airport. The airport’s representatives said there was no significant impact on flight operations, but admitted that 22 flights were delayed by 3 - 20 minutes due to the incident.

American Shipper reported that Swissport had switched to paper manifests at Brussels Airport.

SecurityWeek has checked the websites of several major ransomware operations and has not found any mention of Swissport at the time of writing, but cybercriminals typically list targeted firms on these sites only after the victim has made it clear that they are unwilling to pay a ransom.

Ransomware may have also been involved in last week’s attacks aimed at several major oil terminals in some of Europe’s biggest ports.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.