What just happened? DP World is a multinational logistics company based in Dubai, a global port operator responsible for roughly 10 percent of the world's container traffic, with 82 marine and inland terminals in 40 different countries. The corporation has a significant presence in Australia, but it was forced to halt its import and export operations in the country after suffering a cyber-attack over the weekend.
DP World Australia detected unexpected behavior in its computer systems on Friday, November 10. The company later confirmed that it had experienced a cyber-attack led by unknown malicious actors, and it was soon forced to put all its cargo activities on hold. An internal investigation was initiated, revealing how the unknown cyber-criminals were likely successful in "stealing" data from the affected computers.
DP World handles 40 percent of Australia's container trade, with logistics terminals in the ports of Bing Bong, Fremantle, Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne. The cyber-attack disrupted the company's normal activities, forcing 30,000 shipping containers to remain in ports despite holding perishable goods such as blood plasma, Wagyu beef, and lobsters.
In response to the cyber-attack, the logistics giant activated its emergency plans and started testing the key systems needed to resume normal business operations. According to an official media statement, DP World is now collaborating with cybersecurity experts and has worked "tirelessly" to re-establish landside freight operations at its ports.
DP World is also collaborating with industry partners, including other ports and terminal operators, to execute its business continuity plan and facilitate the movement of containers. Despite all the efforts, the cyber-attack will likely result in damages amounting to millions of dollars. Additionally, there is the issue of stolen data, which DP World is still investigating.
Discovering the nature of data access and theft by the cyber-criminals is a "key line of inquiry" in the ongoing investigation, DP World said. The company acknowledges that this development may cause "concern" for some stakeholders, while confirming it is working hard to assess whether any personal information has been affected.
Data theft is the traditional modus operandi of ransomware-based cyber-criminal operations, which usually demand victims to pay a ransom to retrieve their data or prevent its publication online. So far, DP World has provided no statement about a potential ransomware attack, and no traditional ransomware group has claimed responsibility for the attack.