Carnival Hit by Ransomware Attack - Some Data Accessed

Carnival was hit by a ransomware incident, while its top executive says the company could resume U.S. cruises this year.
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The cruise-ship operator Carnival  (CCL) - Get Report said it was hit by a ransomware attack that included unauthorized access to personal data of guests and employees.

Carnival said in a statement that the Miami company had detected a ransomware attack that accessed and encrypted part of one its brand’s information-technology systems.  The attack included the download of certain data files.

The company said it notified law enforcement of the incident and engaged legal counsel and incident-response professionals. 

Carnival said it implemented containment and mediation measures to reinforce the security of its IT systems. And it's working with cybersecurity firms to respond to the threat. 

Based on its preliminary assessment, Carnival said, the incident should not materially affect its business, operations or financial results.

"Nonetheless, we expect that the security event included unauthorized access to personal data of guests and employees, which may result in potential claims from guests, employees, shareholders, or regulatory agencies," the company said.

Carnival also said it can't assure that other IT systems of the company’s other brands will not be hurt.

The incident comes while the cruise-ship industry is being rocked by the coronavirus pandemic, which has severely limited travel. 

Carnival could resume U.S. cruises this year, but Chief Executive Arnold Donald told Bloomberg that it’s too early to make a determination with public-health restrictions still in place.

Donald noted that many parts of the U.S. are seeing significant spread of covid-19 and have major public-health restrictions in place.

“As long as we’re not just comfortably socially gathering, then we shouldn’t be talking about cruise,” Donald said, according to Bloomberg.

Since the pandemic started, Carnival has raised about $12 billion to withstand months without customers. The company plans to start sailing in a limited capacity, with ships leaving from Germany and Italy next month.

Donald sees “a lot of pent-up demand” among customers eager to cruise again.

The cruise industry shut down on March 13 after a series of covid-19 outbreaks at sea. 

Carnival has had the most known cases and fatalities, dating back to the Diamond Princess off Yokohama, Japan, in February.

At last check Carnival shares edged up 0.3% to $14.73.