Double Trouble For Maersk: Two Cyber Attacks Within a Year


“Cybercrime is the greatest threat to every company in the world,” says Ginni Rommety, executive chairman of IBM. Rommety couldn’t have put it any more succinctly. Just ask the world’s leading shipbrokers AP Moller-Maersk who were affected by the NotPetya cyber incident and had to fork out $300 million to resolve the situation in 2017.

The June 27, 2017 cyber attack

On the morning of June 27, 2017, the company would face one of the most devastating cybersecurity attacks in the Maritime industry. Maersk operations across the world were all affected. 574 offices in 130 countries were shut down. A colossal fleet of 800 vessels operating from 76 ports was stranded. Millions of tons of cargo was stuck in warehouses, on freighting trucks, and ships that were not able to dock and offload. It was a catastrophe the kind no company ever anticipates.

Speaking about the incident a year later at the World Economic Forum in January 2018, chairman of Maersk Jim Hagemann Snabe said, “We were a collateral victim of probably a state attack situation. We were basically average when it comes to cybersecurity, like many companies, and this was a wake-up call.”

Another Maersk cybersecurity attack

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the end of cybercrime aimed at Maersk. Hardly a year later, it was discovered that Maersk’s Australian-based business subsidiary Svitzer had fallen victim to a third-party intrusion. The company had been hacked in May 2017 and no one had noticed until March 1, 2018.

An unknown party had taken control of the subsidiary’s email system for 10 months. Maersk confirmed, however, that the siphoning of emails had only affected their Australian division and did not affect the rest of the Maersk entities – Maersk Oil, Maersk Supply Services, Maersk Drilling, Maersk Training, Maersk Tankers and MCI.

The rising cyber threats against the Maritime world

These Maersk incidents are not the only ones. In fact, there has been a steady stream of attacks against companies in the Maritime industry over the years. From Hong-Kong based shipbrokers Anglo-Eastern to ports in the U.S. such as the Port of San Diego, and even state-owned entities such as Chinese shipping agents COSCO, it’s clear to see that the Maritime industry has not been spared of the scourge of cybercrime.

How Maritime companies can protect themselves

It is imperative that Maritime entities develop robust cybersecurity strategies, invest in cutting-edge cyber secure solutions, and be covered by insurance. It’s not a matter of if the company gets hacked but when. The level of preparation will determine the extent of the damage suffered by the company. For this reason, Cybeta exists to assist Maritime businesses to be on guard against potential threats.

Invest in the best cybersecurity solutions on the market

Cybeta’s digital solutions have been developed by a team of highly experienced U.S. threat intelligence vectors who have worked with the Department of Justice, Homeland Security and several U.S. intelligence agencies. Contact us today to discuss a tailored strategy for your business.