Lost at Sea

When the operator of the port of New York and New Jersey -- the largest port on the east coast of the United States -- was hit with the NotPetya ransomware, shipping slowed to a near halt as systems were forced to switch over to manual operations. "The delays were six to eight hours to pick up a container. The line was many, many miles long. Trucks, trucks, trucks," said Jeffrey Bader, chief executive of Golden Carriers to the Weather Network.

Run by APM Terminals, a subsidiary of A.P. Moller-Maersk Group, the port found most of its systems locked up by the ransomware, necessitating the reinstallation of 4,000 servers, 45,000 personal computers, and 2,500 applications. The cost to Maersk estimated to be as much as $300 million, although Maersk was lauded for the openness with which they addressed the events and efforts to recover.

These issues have not been restricted to the east coast, as the executive director for the Port of Los Angeles recently testified that the port's Cybersecurity Operations Center has seen at least 20 million cyber intrusion attempts in only three years of operations.

While discussions have been ongoing over the last several years to ensure the shipping industry is ready for such cyberattacks, the industry still remains vulnerable. Kate Belmont, a lawyer specializing in maritime security issues, told The Weather Network "we are about 20 years behind the ball compared to many industries worldwide," observing that, "attacks have been occurring, but nobody wants to talk about, so a lot of people don't believe they are happening."