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IMB: Guard against threat of cyber attacks

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) is calling for vigilance in the maritime sector as it emerges that shipping and the supply chain is the ‘next playground for hackers’. IMB said, “Recent events have shown that systems managing the movement of goods need to be strengthened against the threat of cyber-attacks. It is vital that lessons learnt from other industrial sectors are applied quickly to close down cyber vulnerabilities in shipping and the supply chain.” The threat of cyber-attacks on the sector have intensified in the past few months, with cyber security
experts and the media alike warning of the dangers posed by criminals targeting carriers, ports, terminals and other transport operators. They argue that while IT systems have become more sophisticated and thus enabling companies to better protect themselves against fraud and theft, it has also left them more vulnerable to ‘cyber criminals’.

Speaking at the TOC Container Supply Chain Europe Conference in London recently, TT Club’s insurance claims expert Mike Yarwood said, “We see incidents which at first appear to be a petty break-in at office facilities. The damage appears minimal – nothing is physically removed.” He added; “More thorough post incident investigations however reveal that the ‘thieves’ were actually installing spyware within the operator’s IT network.”.

Yarwood said that more commonly targets are individuals’ personal devices where cyber security is less adequate. Hackers often make use of social networks to target truck drivers and operational personnel who travel extensively to ascertain routing and overnight parking patterns. The criminals were looking to extract information such as release codes for containers from terminal facilities or passwords to discover delivery instructions.

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