June 2016, the International Maritime Organization issued its own guidelines on maritime cyber risk management after “having considered the urgent need to raise awareness on cyber risk threats and vulnerabilities.”
There have already been incidents of hackers accessing port systems. In 2013, for example, drug traffickers recruited hackers to breach the IT systems at the port of Antwerp. As reported by the BBC:
Prosecutors say a Dutch-based trafficking group hid cocaine and heroin among legitimate cargoes, including timber and bananas shipped in containers from South America.
The organised crime group allegedly used hackers based in Belgium to infiltrate computer networks in at least two companies operating in the port of Antwerp.
The breach allowed hackers to access secure data giving them the location and security details of containers, meaning the traffickers could send in lorry drivers to steal the cargo before the legitimate owner arrived.
I first wrote about the cyber threat to supply chains two years ago in The Hackers Inside Your Supply Chain. The threat has only intensified since then, and as our supply chain networks and processes become more dependent on software, GPS, and other technologies (see The Internet of Things), the risk for a cyber attack on supply chains will only continue to grow. I’ll just repeat what I said two years ago:
As I’ve written many times before, when it comes to supply chain risk management, many companies are falling short. The sooner companies embed supply chain risk management within their corporate DNA, the sooner they’ll be able to adequately address this growing threat of cyber-terrorism. Mitigating the threat will also require greater collaboration between the IT and supply chain functions, not only within companies, but across all stakeholders in global supply chains. As the examples above illustrate, criminals and terrorists are already on the offensive — and their actions will only intensify in the months and years ahead.
“The Day a Cyber Attack Brings the World’s Supply Chains to a Halt” is a fictional title today, but it may be the headline in tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal.
Adrian Gozales, https://www.linkedin.com/in/adrian-gonzalez-063530