Another Major Shipping Company Hit By Ransomware

Another Major Shipping Company Hit By Ransomware

Shanghai-based COSCO, the world’s fourth-largest shipping company, was hit by ransomware last week that resulted in their US website being taken down and their e-mail and other communication systems going offline. In order to avoid interruptions in normal shipping operations, COSCO instructed customers to contact them using temporary email addresses during the shutdown. Leaked internal emails from COSCO show them informing employees to not open unknown emails or attachments.


This incident reminds us of last summer, when Dutch shipping company A.P. Moller-Maersk was hit by a ransomware attack that left ships stuck in port and reportedly cost them upwards of $200 million in losses.  Maersk’s CEO reported that in order to resolve last year’s attack, his company had to reinstall over 4000 servers, 45,000 PCs, and 2500 applications over a 10 day period. It appears that COSCO’s losses were not as extreme – the attack’s impact was limited by their flexibility and ability to switch to temporary communication systems and the fact that the ransomware appears to have hit their US branch and not their primary Shanghai-based systems. However, it is a stark reminder that hackers are a serious risk at all sizes of companies, from small business to multi-billion-dollar multinationals.

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