Blue Water Shipping has confirmed that it was affected by a hacking attempt on September 11.

Blue Water said that it detected suspicious activity within the company’s IT infrastructure and decided to initiative its IT security procedure. After working with external specialists, the attempt was identified and several systems shut down, preventing the attempted cyber-attack.

“Cybercrime is unfortunate, and an all too common occurrence and the consequences could have been comprehensive. Therefore, we considered it necessary to shut down our systems,” said Flemming Busch, Blue Water’s chief financial officer.

All transport operations are intact and have been so during the shutdown, which has primarily influenced the internet-based communication with clients and business partners.

“We apologise to our clients. The shutdown causes potential interruptions – but only temporary – and our employees are still capable of providing transport solutions for all our customers, across all business units. Our priority is to protect our and our customers’ data at all costs and we are pleased to see that we have successfully done just that. We appreciate everyone’s patience while we put additional measures in place to keep everyone safe,” added Busch.

Cybercrime has the potential to impact all aspects of the transport and logistics supply chain. During July, cyber security specialist Naval Dome reported that attacks on the maritime industry’s operational technology (OT) systems have increased by 900 percent over the last three years, with the number of reported incidents set to reach record volumes by year end.

Speaking during the 2020 Port Security Seminar & Expo, Naval Dome’s head of North American operations Robert Rizika said that in 2017 there were 50 significant OT hacks reported, increasing to 120 in 2018 and more than 310 last year.

He said this year is looking like it will end with more than 500 major cyber security breaches, with substantially more going unreported.

Emphasising the economic impact and ripple effect of a cyber attack on port infrastructures, Rizika revealed that a report published by Lloyd’s of London indicated that if 15 Asian ports were hacked financial losses could be more than USD110 billion, a significant amount of which would not be recovered through insurance policies, as OT system hacks are not covered.

Rizika said that as the maritime industry moves towards greater digitalisation and increases the use of networked, autonomous systems, moving more equipment and technologies online would create more vulnerabilities and loopholes that criminals could exploit.

“There will be a whole series of new cyber security openings through which people can attack if systems are not properly protected,” Rizika explained. “If just one piece of this meticulously managed operation goes down it will create unprecedented backlog and impact global trade, disrupting operations and infrastructure for weeks if not months, costing tens of millions of dollars in lost revenues.”