Maersk hit by cyber attack
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.
JOHNSON |TUESDAY, JUNE 27, 2017
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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