A ransomware attack on Brazil’s tourist industry, which left some 800,000 Brazilians stranded, is forcing the country to issue more emergency travel bans and impose additional restrictions on people trying to travel to the country.
The cyberattack, dubbed “Siberian Tiger,” hit Brazilian tourism sites in April and has led to the cancellation of around 1.6 million visitors to Brazil, the International Association of Tour Operators (IAO) said Monday.
The ransomware has forced the IOA to halt all international visitors from Brazil, although the organization said it was still in talks with Brazilian authorities on how to restore some of those visitors’ rights.
“We’ve been working on the situation and have been able to resume our operations and activities, but unfortunately there is still a lot of work to be done,” said IOA chief executive, Carlos Sosa, during a briefing.
The IOA is among the organizations that have been hit by cyberattacks in the past.
In February, Brazil’s federal government announced that more than 1,000 websites had been compromised and that some 5,000 people were affected by the attack.
Sosa told reporters that the country’s tourism sector is “facing an unprecedented level of vulnerability” and that there were “anecdotal reports of the attacks being performed by criminals” in recent days.
He said that some 2,500 businesses have been targeted, while others have been attacked by hackers who targeted the websites of foreign companies.
“I have to warn people that the situation is going to get worse,” Sosa said.
“You can expect a lot more attacks, more attacks in the near future.
The only thing that we can do is to prepare for it, but we have to do that with great care.”
The attacks hit Brazilian tourist sites in the northern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, in the state of Sao Paulo, in central Brazil, and in the northeastern state of Santa Catarina.
São Paulo police said that they had arrested the attackers, which they said came from Russia, and are now searching for two more.
The two arrested individuals have been charged with aggravated identity theft.
The attack on Minas, which has a population of about 30,000, hit tourism sites across the state, including tourist attractions, hotels, restaurants, cinemas and shops.
São Paulo governor, Pedro Moreira, told reporters the city was already in a state of lockdown and that he was “very concerned” about the attack, which affected more than one million visitors.
The attacks were the latest in a series of ransomware attacks that have hit Brazil’s economy and government in recent years.
In April, the government in Rio de Janeiro said that around 7,000 government workers had been infected by ransomware, while at least one government official was infected, and an investigation found that about 2,000 others had also been affected.