The US Coast Guard was surprised when a massive container ship bound for New York in February 2019 discovered a cyberattack on board. But authorities have come to the conclusion that poor defenses expose critical functions with serious vulnerabilities, which could pose risks to the shipping industry.
According to the Bloomberg report, even though this incident has never recorded a maritime accident, it has nevertheless raised a new threat to the international trade market – cyber piracy, which can infiltrate on-board technology used for propulsion, steering , navigation and other important activities.
(Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 10: A US Coast Guard vessel patrols the Port of Los Angeles near a container ship before US President Joe Biden delivers a speech aboard the Battleship USS Iowa Museum on June 10, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Harmful to the economy
A senior Coast Guard official told Bloomberg that these advanced hacking techniques could be harmful to the economy, especially at a time when supply chains are deeply compromised by the pandemic and the Russian-Ukrainian war.
Vice President Rick Tiene of cybersecurity firm Mission Secure claimed that as “more and more incidents” occur, hackers become more aware of their options once they have control over them. a functional technological system.
He added that in the case of maritime, hackers could harm several networks and physical operations of ports and ships.
As deputy commander of a precautionary strategy for the Coast Guard, Rear Admiral Wayne Arguin noted that shipping faces cyber dangers comparable to other industries, but the stakes are much higher since more 80% of global trade flows transit by sea.
Therefore, Arguin argued that there should be a strategy against cyberattacks that could “stress the system”, cause “supply chain disruptions” and devastate the shipping industry.
Some progress has been made since 2021, but there are still more cyber defense measures the industry can take to protect against cyberattacks, according to BlueVoyant, a New York-based cyber defense platform that previously reviewed 20 top shippers.
According to Lorri Janssen-Anessi, Director of External Cyber Assessments at BlueVoyant, their third-party cyber damage survey found that 93% of respondents admitted to having encountered direct breaches related to supply chain weaknesses.
The survey further noted that the average number of offenses rose to 3.7 last year from 2.7 in 2020.
Read also: Ukraine Fights Cyberattacks Amid Russian Invasion: Government Websites Under DDoS Attack
Cyber hacking cases
Major logistics systems have already been targeted by hackers on numerous occasions this year.
According to Bloomberg, India’s busiest cargo port, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, suffered a ransomware attack in February. Washington Inc.’s large freight forwarding company Expeditors International was also the target of a targeted attack that cost $60 million and rendered its systems unusable for about three weeks.
In early May, Blume Global Inc., a Pleasanton, Calif.-based supply chain technology provider, announced that a cyberattack had temporarily rendered its asset management platform unusable.
Bloomberg further noted that the shipping industry serves as the foundation for international trade in goods, but its extensive reach is also one of its cyber weaknesses.
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Written by Joaquin Victor Tacla
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