© Vladimir Serebryanskiy |_50636389
© Vladimir Serebryanskiy Maersk

The shipping industry must learn from last week’s cyber attack on Maersk, say analysts, and the line’s chief commercial officer, Vincent Clerc, said the line would “have to ask ourselves some tough questions”.

Speaking to CNN, Mr Clerc said the company had focused on trying to restore normal operations, but as the situation improved, it would start to investigate the attack further.

On its website this morning, Maersk said in a note to customers that most of its main applications were back up and running, adding: “We will also diligently work through the six days of backlog which needs to be cleared in order to give you the full transparency you expect.”

It also issued an update on APMT’s terminals, which reveals that Rotterdam’s Maasvlakte II continues to be the most affected, with no rail or marine services, and limited gate services – the terminal is operating at 15% of its normal services.

The port of Gothenburg is operating manually, with limited services; Poti, Aarhus and Algeciras are also impacted, while in North America, Los Angeles, Mobile, Port Elizabeth and South Florida are also running manually.

Lars Jensen, CEO of CyberKeel and SeaIntelliegence, said some phone systems were still down and bills of lading unavailable in some places.

Mr Jensen warns, in a blog this morning, that weak security is endemic in the shipping industry: some 44% of carriers show “signs of low levels of cyber security related to very basic elements”.

He notes that one top-20 carrier allows shippers on its e-commerce platform to use “x” as a password. Another top five carrier states that “12345” would be a medium-strength password.

Mr Jensen points out that the fact the attack spread laterally through Maersk’s different business units shows that the firm’s level of security was not high enough.

“It is crucial that the maritime companies look at the Maersk case and learn from it, and create more robust and resilient systems – otherwise this will not be the last time we see such challenges.”

iContainers said the industry should heed the warning, adding that IT systems could be hit by something as simple as opening an infected email, so staff should be warned.

“After years of low earnings and huge losses, some [shipping lines] may not have been as diligent on their security as they perhaps should have been,” said Klaus Lysdal, vice president of sales and operations.

“Maersk stands to lose a substantial amount of money from this attack, which hopefully will spur every carrier to intensify their security measures.

“Considering the importance and value of what the industry does, it is ill-prepared for an attack such as this. One would have thought that Maersk was perhaps the carrier with the highest level of protection,” he added.

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