Cyber-Attack Grounds Flights in Alaska
RavnAir Group was forced to ground flights on Saturday following a cyber-attack on the Alaskan company’s computer network.
The nature of the attack was not disclosed; however, the company did reveal that threat actors specifically targeted the small airline’s turboprop-powered regional airliner the De Havilland Canada DHC-8 aircraft, commonly known as the Dash 8.
As a result of the incident, the airline had to disconnect its entire Dash 8 maintenance system and the back-up system.
All RavnAir Alaska Dash 8 flights that were scheduled to take place on Saturday, December 21, a crucial day of travel in the busy holiday season, were affected.
PenAir flights and RavnAir Connect flights were unaffected by the incident, as they were able to run on back-up systems.
RavnAir wrote: “While we continue to work with the FBI, other authorities, and a cybersecurity company to restore affected systems, we are proactively cancelling all RavnAir Alaska Dash 8 flights until 12 noon today, and we expect to experience other schedule cancellations and delays within the RavnAir Alaska (Dash 8 Aircraft) network throughout the rest of the day because the cyber-attack forced us to disconnect our Dash 8 maintenance system and its back-up.”
According to news site WKRN, RavnAir spokesperson Debbie Reinwand said that 260 passengers were affected by the malicious cyber-attack. Six flights were cancelled, including the 1:30 p.m. flight from Unalaska to Anchorage.
Disappointed customer Dennis Ede, who was due to take that 1:30 p.m. flight, told KUCB radio: “I’m not happy about it. If I can’t get out today, I’ll try to get out tomorrow. I’m trying to get home to Seattle to see my family for Christmas.”
Two further flights were cancelled on Saturday due to adverse weather conditions.
“We will be trying to add flights where we can over the next two days,” wrote RavnAir in a statement released at 1 p.m. Sunday, December 22.
“We have, where possible, re-booked passengers on other flights.”
RavnAir Group serves 100 different communities in Alaska from its headquarters in Anchorage. Many of the communities who fly with RavnAir are inaccessible by road.