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2017 Jul 07

Maersk attack: not the nightmare scenario… yet

The recent cyber attack on Maersk Group’s IT systems thankfully did not affect the operations of its vessels at sea.  Paul Fanning wonders if this nightmare scenario can be avoided.

On 27th June, Maersk Group suffered a cyber attack on its IT infrastructure that is bound to have sent shivers throughout the shipping industry. The attack affected as many as 17 ports and Maersk announced on 3 July that it was still working through some of the problems caused.

There was one glimmer of good news in this, however. And that was that, while onshore operations were severely compromised, vessels at sea remained unaffected. By immediately deploying firewalls to secure its ship systems, the group ensured that the malware did not migrate over satellite communications.

Thus, the real nightmare scenario of a vessel’s power generation, propulsion and/or navigational systems being brought down while at sea was avoided. That this was avoided was thanks to effective systems being in place, quick thinking and good training.

However, if a giant like Maersk is vulnerable to an attack like this, so is anyone. The hope is that this attack will have shocked world shipping into grasping that constant vigilance is now vital to prevent the next attack – and there will be one – having far worse consequences.

Source: www.mpropulsion.comPaul Fanning

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