Maersk Hit By Cyber Attack!

 In business, carriers, container shipping, international business, International Shipping, Maersk, port congestion
Maersk Hit By Cyber Attack! - Universal Shipping News

Maersk Cyber AttackIn this age when people and businesses are more and more dependent upon technology, it seems no company--no matter how big--is invulnerable to cyber attack. Or is it cyberattack? Or cyber-attack?

Whichever of the three current (and generally accepted) spellings for cyber attack you use, Maersk, the world’s largest ocean carrier by capacity, just fell victim.

Yes, this attack has affected Maersk operations around the world, but what’s more than that is the attack has caused terminals in U.S. ports to shut down.

Bruce Barnard reported in the Journal of Commerce (JOC):

The Maersk group has been hit by a cyberattack that has affected its operations around the world, closing terminals in the ports of New York and New Jersey, Los Angeles, and Rotterdam

The Danish transport and energy group said its information technology (IT) systems are down across multiple sites and business units owing to the attack.

Maersk actually operates more terminals than just the ones mentioned Tuesday in the JOC article. All Maersk operated terminals are likely affected, though not all have shut down.

ABC News posted an Associated Press article, giving more details on the effect this cyber attack is having:

Ports operated by the Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk are still crippled following this week’s cyberattack.

An official with the Alabama State Port Authority, James K. Lyons, says crews at the Maersk’s APM terminal in Mobile, Alabama, have been loading and unloading containers in manual mode, without the normal computerized coordination. Lyons says the APM operation at Mobile handles 1,000 to 1,500 cargo containers each day….

APM gate operations at Port Elizabeth in New Jersey are expected to remain shuttered through at least Thursday. Port Elizabeth is APM’s largest terminal on the East Coast of North America.

In Los Angeles, there’s minimal impact — but only because no ships had been scheduled to load or unload at the ATM Terminal there on Tuesday or Wednesday. There’s no estimate on when the terminal will reopen.

… APM has 189 port and inland facilities in 61 countries.

Obviously, this whole situation is causing cargo delays for Maersk customers while creating some port congestion around the world. In a Reuters article, Teis Jensen reports that this attack “has also led to congestion at some of the 76 ports run by its APM Terminals unit, including in the United States, India, Spain and the Netherlands.

This cyber attack that Maersk fell victim to has all the appearances of cyber extortion, ransomware, or hacker blackmail. It also hit many more businesses than just Maersk.

Logistics Management shared an article that stated:

A Bloomberg report said that the cyberattack started in Ukraine yesterday and infected computer networks and demanded $300 million in cryptocurrency to unlock their systems. And by midday Tuesday, an estimate from Kaspersky Labs said around 2,000 users has been attacked, with organizations in Russia and Ukraine being the most affected.

Despite all the signs of this massive attack being motivated by the acquisitiveness of a hacker or group of hackers, according to a New York Times article yesterday, the actual motive of the cyber attack may have been more sinister. The virus, causing companies like Maersk so much pain, initially targeted tax accountants in the Ukraine and may have been designed to paralyze the country’s vital computer systems on the eve of Constitution Day, Ukraine’s holiday that celebrates its independence.

No matter the motive behind the cyber attack, shippers are affected because Maersk is affected (and so is FedEx’s TNT Express). Yesterday, Maersk shared the following in an email with its customers:

We are sorry but is temporarily unavailable

28th June 10.45 CET

Dear Customer

We apologize that you are unable to access the website.

Following on from our communications yesterday (27th June 2017) regarding the impact of the global cyber attack, Petya, on A.P. Møller-Maersk group, we can confirm that some of our IT and communications infrastructure have been impacted and we have proactively shut down as a security measure.

For now this means the following:

All immediate vessel operations will continue as planned, making the majority of planned port calls.

Access to most ports is not impacted, however some APM Terminals are affected and gates are closed.

Cargo in transit will be offloaded as planned. Import Cargo will be released to credit customers.

At the present time we are unfortunately unable to serve new quotes or accept future bookings. However we do greatly appreciate your patience and look forward to carrying your cargo as soon as it is practically possible.

Unfortunately due to the impact on our IT and communications systems we are limited in our ability to communicate with you. We will continue to email you when appropriate and will be updating our Social Media channels regularly.

We apologize once again for any inconvenience this may cause your business and we are working hard to resume normal operations as soon as possible.

The Maersk Team

Of course, we here at Universal Cargo are following this story closely, and will share major developments on our blog that affect shippers.

On a language note: cyber attack and cyberattack are the dominate spellings, with cyberattack quickly growing in prevalence over cyber attack, which had been the preferred spelling in terms of frequency. While cyber-attack is still regarded as acceptable, it has fallen out of favor and is not used nearly as often as the other two spellings.

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