Originally published December 4, 2023 | By:

Cybersecurity threats to the global supply chain have been well-documented in recent years, and sea-faring trade is no exception. Shipping ports are being targeted by modern day digital pirates seeking to disrupt supply chains with targeted, sophisticated cyberattacks.

Long gone are the days when a commercial ship crew considered a rudimentary GPS system to be the sole state-of-the-art technology onboard. Today, the maritime industry depends on smart AI systems and IoT devices that go beyond standard ubiquitous commercial satellite networks for navigation, communication, and cargo management. The increasing use of this technology in the vast supply chain has made IoT security a key operational component because a single breach can have a significant impact on operations.

These modern evolving systems are densely interconnected and rely on real time data exchange, making them highly efficient and flexible. However, increased connectivity also opens up vulnerabilities to cyberattacks from foreign agents, terrorists and even competitors.

A global problem

The shipping industry has been a frequent target of ransomware attacks in recent years. For example, in March 2023, Dutch maritime logistics company Royal Dirkzwager was hit by a ransomware attack from the Play group. The attack involved the theft of data from servers, but did not affect operations. The company negotiated with the cybercriminals. The Play ransomware group has also targeted government entities in Latin America and the City of Oakland. In January 2023, about 1,000 vessels were affected by a ransomware attack against Oslo-based DNV. DNV had to rebuild its ShipManager server environment and to resume full service. No small undertaking.

Read the full piece of client coverage on The Fast Mode.