IMO latest to fall victim to cyber attack

The cyber hits keep on coming, with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) the latest to confirm that it has been hit by a cyber attack against its IT systems.

As container line CMA CGM continued its recovery this week from a cyber attack first confirmed on Monday, on Wednesday maritime industry stakeholders began to notice that the IMO’s website was also unreachable.

The Organisation initially announced that it was experiencing some “technical issues” and hoped to be back up within a short period of time, with a notice added to the IMO homepage telling visitors that “This web site is under maintenance. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused.”

However, as the outage stretched into Thursday, IMO moved to confirm via its official Twitter account that its IT issues had in fact been caused by a cyber-attack from an unknown source.

As a branch of the United Nations (UN), IMO says that it has begun working with the UN’s IT and security experts to restore its systems as soon as possible and identify the source of the attack. The organisation also aims to further enhance its security systems prior to coming back online, to prevent a recurrence.

Maritime-related cyber attacks are becoming an increasingly regular occurrence, with IMO’s and CMA CGM’s troubles this week the latest in a line of high-profile incidents in the last few years. These include Maersk falling victim to the Not Petya virus in 2017 at a cost of up to $300 million, Cosco Shipping suffering a shutdown of its US systems after a 2018 attack, and MSC taking its web services offline after a malware infection just six months ago.

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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