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Hackers can now stop cargo ships and planes

Container cargo ships are on shore from the Long Beach / Los Angeles Port Complex in Long Beach, CA, on Wednesday, October 6, 2021.

Jeff Gritchen | MediaNews Group | Getty Images

Equipped with a little more than just a computer, hackers are increasingly looking at some of the biggest things humans can build.

Large container vessels and chunky cargo planes — essential in today’s global economy — can now be stopped by a new generation of code-warriors.

“The reality is that an airplane or a ship, like any digital system, can be hacked,” David Emm, chief security researcher at the cybersecurity company Kaspersky, told CNBC.

In fact, this was demonstrated by the U.S. government in a 2019 “pen-test” exercise on a Boeing aircraft.

Hacking logistics

Often, however, it is easier to hack companies operating in ports and airports than to get into a real plane or ship.

In December, the German company Hellmann Worldwide Logistics said its operations were caused by a phishing attack. Phishing attacks involve sending fake messages designed to convey sensitive information to people or download harmful software.

The company, which offers air freight, sea freight, road and rail and contract logistics services, had to stop taking new reservations for several days. As a result, it is not clear how much income he has lost.

Sami Awad-Hartmann, Hellmann’s chief information officer, told CNBC that the company immediately tried to “stop the spread” when it realized it had been the victim of a cyber attack.

“You must add it to prevent further intrusion [computing] infrastructure, ”he said.

Hellmann, a global company, disconnected data centers around the world and shut down some of its systems to limit deployment.

“Then one of the most drastic decisions we made when we saw that we had infected some systems was to disconnect them from the Internet,” Awad-Hartmann said. “As soon as you take this step, you stop. You’re not working anymore.”

Everything had to be done manually and business monitoring plans were put in place, Awad-Hartmann said, adding that some parts of the business were able to be managed better than others.

Awad-Hartmann said the hackers had two main goals. The first is Hellmann encryption and the second is data extraction.

“Then they blackmail you,” he said. “Then the rescue begins.”

Hellmann was not encrypted because it moved quickly and closed the Internet, Awad-Hartmann said.

“As soon as you encrypt, of course, your reboot procedure takes longer, because you may need to decrypt it,” he explained. “You may have to pay the ransom to get the main keys and things like that.”

Hellmann is working with legal authorities to try to determine who is behind the cyberattack. There is some speculation, but no specific answer, Awad-Hartmann said.

EzPetya attack

The notorious NotPetya attack in June 2017, which affected several Danish container shipping companies, also highlighted the weakness of global supply chains.

Maersk first announced that it had been hit by NotPetya – a ransomware attack that prevented people from accessing their data unless they paid $ 300 in bitcoin – in late June of that year.

“Last week [second] we were hit by a cyber attack in the quarter, which mainly affected Maersk Line, APM Terminals and Damco, ”Soren Skou, CEO of Maersk, said in a statement in August 2020.

“It had a negative impact on business volumes in July for a couple of weeks and as a result, our quarterly results will have an impact,” he added. “We expect the cyberattack to have a negative impact of $ 200-300 million.”

The ransomware attack took advantage of some security vulnerabilities in the Windows software platform that Microsoft updated after the leak.

“This cyber attack was a type of malware that had never been seen before, and updates and patches applied to both Windows systems and antivirus were not effective protection in this case,” Maersk said.

“In response to this new type of malware, AP Moller Maersk has implemented various and more protection measures and continues to review its systems to protect against attacks.”

In a follow-up article, Gavin Ashton, an IT security expert at Maersk at the time, wrote that the attack would be “inevitable”.

“It’s inevitable that one day, one will be overtaken,” Ashton continued. “And of course you should have a solid contingency plan in case the worst happens. But that doesn’t mean you don’t try to make a good fight to stop these attacks in the first case. Just because you know it. Bad actors are coming, it doesn’t mean the front door when you leave it open and enter you prepare a cup of tea.

Meanwhile, in February 2020, the Japan Post-owned freight forwarder, Toll Group, was forced to shut down several computer systems after suffering a cyber attack. The Toll Group did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Disguise drug shipments

Sometimes hackers don’t necessarily seek rescue.

In 2013, criminals hacked systems in the port of Antwerp to manipulate the movement of containers so they could hide and move drug shipments.

When the hackers were inside the proper systems, they changed the location and delivery times of the containers containing the drugs.

The smugglers sent their drivers to pick up the shipping containers loaded with drugs before they could pick up the legitimate carriers.

The hackers used spear phishing and malware attacks — aimed at port authority employees and shipping companies — to gain access to the systems.

Police discovered the entire scheme after the shipping company detected something was wrong.

Awad-Hartmann said hackers have realized how important global supply chains are, and now they know what happens when they are disrupted.

“It affects the entire world economy,” he said. “You see that goods don’t flow. You have gaps in supermarkets. Of course, I think hackers see a dependency on this supply chain. And then, of course, a logistics company is the target for them.”

He added that there is a logistics focus at the moment, as global supply chains are in the news.

“But I think it’s a general threat,” he said.

“And this isn’t going to go away. It’s going to increase. You have to constantly check. Are you still ready? It’s something that keeps us pretty busy and costs us a lot of money.”

Hackers can now stop cargo ships and planes

Source link Hackers can now stop cargo ships and planes

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