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 June 27, 2017      


Maersk hit by cyber attack


The world's biggest container line has been impacted by an apparent ransomware attack that brought down its global IT systems, affecting the company's liner shipping and terminal operations.



The shipping conglomerate A.P. Moller-Maersk Group was hit by a cyber attack Tuesday that’s impacted its global operations.   

Maersk released a statement Tuesday saying the attack has impacted “multiple sites and business units.” According to reports on social media, the company’s liner shipping and container terminal operations have been affected.
Early reports suggest Maersk was hit by a ransomware attack. In a ransomeware attack, a person or entity gains unauthorized access to a system or database and encrypt it so the owner of the system or database can’t access it, according to maritime expert Lars Jensen. The attacker then demands money to restore access to the system.
Jensen wrote three years ago about the shipping industry’s vulnerability to a cyber attack. One of his companies, CyberKeel, focuses on hardening the industry’s defenses against such attacks and preparing contingency plans in the case of an attack.

“The important thing is the level of sophistication of the attack,” he said. “The reality is anybody can be penetrated provided the attack is sufficiently sophisticated. In a ransomware attack, the traditional approach is to reinstall everything from scratch. Assuming Maersk has a contingency plan for such an attack, the question is how long it takes to get up and running. Then, from a position of peace and quiet, they can determine whether this was sophisticated attack where defenses would have been useless.”
Maersk has not specified which offices and regions have been affected, but based on social media reports, the impact appears to be broad.

“If their systems are down, does that change anything over a matter of hours for supply chains?” said Jensen, who worked for Maersk in a variety of roles from 1998 to 2010. “There’s a limit how long you can live without these systems. We’ll see Maersk’s contingency planning put to the test.”


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