Posted on June 28, 2022 at 4:38 AM
Hackers Are Now Sophisticated Enough To Bring Ships And Planes To A Halt
A recent report has revealed that threat actors have become very sophisticated that they can hack into some of the biggest things that humans have ever built. Large freight plans and vast container ships, which are vital for today’s global economy, can be brought to a standstill by a new generation of hackers, according to the report.
Cybersecurity researcher at Kaspersky, which speaks to CNBC, noted that technology has been used in virtually everything that humans have manufactured. “The reality is that an aeroplane or vessel, like any digital system, can be hacked,” he stated.
This is no longer an assertion, but something that has already been proven in the recent past. The U.S. government conducted a “pen-test” exercise on a Boeing aircraft in 2019.
It is usually more difficult to hack an actual vessel or aircraft than to hack the airport of companies that operate in ports. This explains why the hack of airline companies or firms in the maritime industry is more rampant than the actual hacking of an airplane.
Last December, threat actors hit the servers of German firm Hellmann Worldwide Logistics with a phishing attack. The attackers sent spoofed messages to trick some of the employees.
The company offers sea freight, airfreight, and contract logistics services. As a result of the phishing attack, the firm was forced to stop accepting new bookings for several days. While the attacks impacted the operations of the company, it’s not clear how much it lost in revenue.
Chief Information Officer of Hellmann, Sami Awad-Hartmann stated that the company, once it discovered the attack, went into action immediately to stop the spread.
He stated that the security team wanted to make sure the attack does not extend to other sensitive areas in the organization, which would have been catastrophic.
Hellmann also shut down some of its systems and disconnected its data centers around the world to limit the impact of the attack.
Some Systems Were Already Compromised
Awad-Hartmann stated that some of the company’s systems were already hit by the phishing attack. As a result, the security team immediately disconnected the affected systems from the affected networks to ensure the safety of the data. Another painful aspect is the fact that almost all the actions were taken manually, which delayed its operations for a long time. He added that some parts of the business were able to deal with the situation more than others.
Hartmann stated that the threat actors had two main objectives for the attack – the encryption of Hellmann’s data and the exfiltration of the data. After achieving the two goals, they block the victim and start preparing ransom notes.
But Avad-Hartman said Hellmann did not get encrypted because it acted swiftly as soon as it discovered the infiltration. Hellmann closed down its internet connection immediately and prevented any further harm to its servers.
Hellmann is working with law enforcement to find out who is behind the attack. Although there are some speculations, no evidence has pointed at any particular threat group.
The 2017 NotPetya Attack Is Another Pointer
The widely publicized NotPeya attack in June 2017 is another example of the increasing interest threat actors are having in freight companies. The attack affected several companies, including Danish container shipping firm Maersk. It also shows that global supply chains are increasingly becoming more vulnerable.
The ransomware attack, which was first announced by Maersk, prevented clients from accessing their data until they pay $300 in Bitcoin.
Maersk stated at the time that the company was hit in the last week of the second quarter of the year. The attack impacted Damco, APM Terminals, and Maersk Line.
The attack impacted business volumes negatively for several weeks, which also impacted the company’s Q3 results. The company further stated that the financial impact of the attack was between $200 and $300 million.
And in February 2020, it was the turn of Japan’s Post-owned freight forwarder, Toll Group, to suffer a cyberattack in the industry. As a result of the attack, it was forced to shut down its operations. It is increasingly becoming a reality that hackers could turn their attention to attacking planes and ships since freight companies are no longer safe. The researchers called for more security on freight companies and airports, since the threat actors are increasingly becoming more sophisticated every day.