Wake-Up Call: The Virus That Shut Down Maersk’s Container Business Could Have Been Far Worse. What Have we Learned?

MECaldwellCyber

11-28-2017 - MAREX

By Stephen L. Caldwell

THE ATTACK

ON TUESDAY, JUNE 27, MAERSK WAS HIT BY THE “NOTPETYA” COMPUTER VIRUS THAT SHUT DOWN ITS CONTAINER BUSINESS. SOON MAINSTREAM AND INDUSTRY MEDIA OUTLETS WERE REPORTING STOPPAGES AT MAERSK OPERATIONS IN ROTTERDAM, LOS ANGELES, MUMBAI, AUCKLAND AND A DOZEN OTHER PORTS AROUND THE GLOBE. FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN – AND PROSPECTS THAT THE VIRUS COULD SPREAD – CAUSED WIDESPREAD CONSTERNATION THROUGHOUT THE MARITIME INDUSTRY.

Maersk was both quick and transparent in its response, using social media and other communication channels to inform its customer base at more than 75 ports worldwide. The day of the attack it confirmed it had been hit, and the next day it started laying out corrective actions. Chief Commercial Officer Vincent Clerc and later CEO Søren Skou held interviews describing the company’s response. During the initial chaos, Maersk took the unprecedented step of shutting down all its Information Technology (IT) systems until it could better assess which ones were infected.

Throughout the incident, Maersk continued to restore operations, one port at a time, with updates to its customers as frequently as three times a day. The updates included the status of specific regions and of different functions within Maersk’s systems. Many Maersk terminals were processing transactions manually in order to restore operations within two days. As for the IT systems themselves, Maersk said that, rather than rush things, it “applied the up- date available for the affected systems in accordance with the IT vendors’ recommendations prior to the re-enablement of any systems."  CLICK HERE TO READ FULL ARTICLE