Cyber attack hits Maersk's IT system affecting global operat

Time: 2017-06-29 13:44
DANISH shipping conglomerate AP Moller-Maersk Group has been hit by a cyber attack that's impacted its global operations.
The world's largest shipping group said in a statement that the attack on Tuesday 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.
In a notification to customers issued later in the day, Maersk said: "We confirm that some Maersk IT systems are down. We are assessing the situation. The safety of your business and our people is our top priority. We will update you when we have more information.
"We apologise for any inconvenience this will cause you."
Early reports suggest Maersk was hit by a ransomware attack in which a person or entity gains unauthorised 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, according to American Shipper.
Mr 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 it 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 Mr 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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