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Cyber attacks challenge maritime industry with IMO confirming hacking attack

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A cyber attack on the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has shut down its website since Wednesday, 30 September, and left staff unable to access key materials for upcoming events.

In its latest post on Twitter, IMO confirmed that the interruption of service was caused by a cyber attack against its IT (Information Technology) systems.

An IMO source told that some of the systems had now been restored, but the attack had shut down all of the IMO’s web connections.

“IMO is working with United Nation’s IT and security experts to restore systems as soon as possible, identify the source of the attack, and further enhance security systems to prevent recurrence,” added IMO in an announcement on social media.

Earlier, IMO had announced that its IT department is working on resolving the situation.

This is the message of IMO on its main website, http://www.imo.org/.

IMO’s cyber attack occurred in the same week as container shipping line CMA CGM faced a similar hacking attack.

Now, both IMO and CMA CGM are trying to regain control of their online systems with the French line showing improvement on, 1 October.

A container shipping expert, Lars Jensen wrote on LinkedIn today, 2 October, that “given the fact that we are now on day 5 [that CMA CGM’s systems are down] it would be safe to conclude that in terms of overall impact we are looking at something similar [to the attack on Maersk in 2017].”

Online bookings of Maersk mostly resumed after eight days and most of the networks and applications were restored after some 4-5 weeks, noted Jensen, who hopes that once CMA CGM is back to normal operations, they will share their experiences in order to increase the industry’s preparedness for such attacks, just like the Danishes had done before three years.

“It is highly unlikely that this is the last time we have seen a major attack on a maritime organisation,” highlighted Jensen.

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