Were Maersk caught up in a cyber attack on the Ukraine

Cyber warfare is big business and according to both the UK & US Government sources the biggest cyber-attack in recorded history was a direct attack by the Russian military.  In June 2017, the Russian military launched the most destructive and costly cyber attackaccording to UK news organisations and some big players within the freight industry were caught up in t and severely compromised.

European Union hit by Cyberware attackExperts believe that at the time of these attacks, around 2000 NotPetya attacks were launched, the principal target was the Ukraine and businesses with strong trade links to the country, a charge which Russia vehemently denies.   Maersk, Damco, TNT & Reckit Benckister  were four of many which were all badly hit which caused major disruption across the globe.  Delayed cargo across Europe and beyond may not have been the strategic aim behind the attack but those that remember trying to get a container delivered by Maersk at the time will know how damaging and widespread the problem became.

The attacked is estimated to have cost companies more than £800 million ($1.2 Billion) and this may well be an under valuation considering the cost to trade across the globe.  The virus itself was a variation on a previous virus “Petya”, a virus that would lock a computer user out of their files and demand a ransom to restore access.  Experts though found differences and as NotPetya appeared to lack the ransomware element the aim of the attack became a point of speculation.

It appears now that it is the belief of both the UK & US governments that this attack was to principally disrupt the Ukraine financial, energy and government sectors and that it was the Malware’s design which caused it to spread further, affecting other European and Russia businesses.

What this cyber attack did show was how quickly the global supply chain could be damaged by cyber attacks and how under-prepared companies were in relation to back-up servers and systems.  Under the old ISO system in the UK a company had to show how it would perform if a system failed and if one lesson is to be learned from NotPetya it should be that all system’s need a back-up and manual process to avoid disruption, especially if State sponsored Cyber warfare is to become the new norm.

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