The seriousness of the threat of cyber attacks was highlighted after Maersk Group suffered one. This attack took out its IT system across business units.
Experts said the virus was an updated version of an old ransomware. The unavailability of Maersk’s IT systems has also affected APM Terminals. The impact of such a cyber attack could be severe.
CyberKeel chief executive Lars Jensen warned that the longer the outage lasts, the more Maersk customers will start to shift their cargo volumes to other carriers. He said that time is of the essence in terms of getting systems restored following a cyber attack.
Maersk’s cyber attack highlights that the maritime industry is vulnerable. CyberKeel has warned repeatedly against the likelihood of ransomware (and similar) attacks. Mr Jensen said that a key component in the cyber defence for such attacks is having a solid plan for reinstalling everything from back-up. Blockchain technology could have saved shipping from the attack.
Maersk Line has recently begun working with IBM to implement blockchain technology. DNV GL senior cyber security service manager Patrick Rossi told delegates at a recent cyber-risk summit organised by Riviera Maritime Media and Norton Rose Fulbright that the biggest weakness for shipping companies was lack of awareness. This leaves ship operators vulnerable to threats.
The Maersk attack needs to act as a catalyst for the container ship industry to boost its cyber security.