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The threat of cyber-attacks has been something of a serious concern across the world in recent years. Last month we saw Moller-Maersk, the global shipping giant become the latest victim to fall into the hands of cyber criminals. The freight organisation typically handles at least one of seven containers we see shipped globally on a daily basis and this caused things such as power outages and inability to access computer systems around the world.

In an industry that is slowly becoming that much more reliant on technology after being initially hesitant to become more automated, this attack came as a huge shock to the freight industry. What’s more obvious in events such as this is just how unprepared the industry is when it comes to dealing or having protocol in place to ensure the issue is solved quickly.

The attack was first noticed as servers across the continent of Europe and India were hit by ransomware. The global cyber-attack was supposedly put in place to have an effect on multiple businesses with Moller-Maersk being the largest organisation hit. The attack was so ferocious that it actually affected every single unit at the Maersk head office. This meant that almost every part of the business was affected including:

  • Oil tankers
  • Shipping containers
  • Tug boat and port operations
  • Gas and oil production
  • Drilling services

As the world’s largest shipping company, Maersk handles a total of more than 600 vessels and this is part of the reason why they take up around 16% of the overall market share in this industry. It is believed that the ransomware infected computers and encrypted hard drives. The virus was more centrally focused on Ukraine with the worry being that its impact could be felt in other parts of the world should the correct precautions not be taken in the future.

The situation in Ukraine did in fact also prompt the freight giant to close offices in Los Angeles and New York which ultimately would have created further problems down the line in terms of processing shipments. The disruption to supply chains was significant enough to stifle operations in areas such as finance, energy and transportation which is significant when it comes to leaving a lasting and global footprint in terms of dealing with cyber hacking.

It is understood that what actually destructive wiper malware was covered up and presented in the form of ransomware which was created with the aim of destroying data in the event that the ransom was not received. The threat of losing irretrievable data is what the hackers used to attempt to have a damaging financial impact on the company.

Something that is being argued among experts is the fact that the situation may have been entirely avoidable had the freight forwarding company invested in a blockchain enabled platform as opposed to their existing EDI (or electronic data interchange) platform currently being used. Ultimately this situation has placed further emphasis on the fact that industrial organisations and companies should be working far more towards keeping their online systems safe and protected from the increasingly complex cyber hacking threats.

If you have any questions or concerns when it comes to arranging a freight forwarding service with us, we recommend that you get in touch with us for further advice.

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