Cyber Attack on COSCO

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COSCO US, a shipping agency having its headquarters in Shanghai, China is reported to have been hit by a cyber attack on Tuesday this week. The company has issued a press statement to its customers which confirmed an attack on its digital assets affecting the ocean water carrier’s communication in the American region only.

COSCO which stands for China Ocean Shipping Company is basically a shipping and logistics service provider operating with 1114 ships around the globe. The press statement of the company says that the attack has forced Cosco to disable its email and telephone systems and shut down connections to other regions.

Some media resources have said that the breakdown could have been due to ransomware attack. But the company’s American business unit hasn’t confirmed it yet.

Business operations such as the vessel operations are performing well and a spokesperson from COSCO has confirmed that the said services weren’t affected.

Last year, Danish shipping company Maersk came under NotPetya ransomware attack causing a financial damage of $200–$300 million. Later, law enforcement forces from the UK and US said that the attack was launched by some state-funded actors of Russia.

In this case, the investigation is still underway and so the nature of the attack is yet to be confirmed.

As most of the shipping companies are still using legacy IT infrastructure they are touted to be extremely vulnerable to cyber attacks. And hackers are said to be using these security gaps to launch attacks in order to invade their IT assets.

So, before the world asks what’s next, it’s high time the shipping companies make a comprehensive effort to raise their cyber defenses against the prevailing cyber threats.

Note- Cosco has confirmed that none of its critical data has been compromised.

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Naveen Goud is a writer at Cyber Security Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security