Several major Australian ports are resuming operations after shutting down due to a cyberattack. The ports are run by DP World Australia, one of the country’s biggest logistics companies. Authorities have not said who might be to blame.
The shutdown of several terminals followed a cyberattack on Australia’s second largest port operator. DP World Australia said it was aware of malicious activity inside its computer network last Friday and shut down its systems in response.
The logistics company handles about 40% of all freight into and out of Australia. Terminals in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Fremantle in Western Australia have been affected, leaving cargo and containers stranded on the docks.
The specific nature of the intrusion has not been made public, but experts have suggested that hackers would have demanded a ransom. Authorities say that finding out who is responsible will take time.
Australia’s National Cyber Security coordinator says the flow of goods into and out of the country is likely to be disrupted for days. Authorities have said a national crisis management response used during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been activated in response to the breach.
The home affairs and cyber security minister, Clare O’Neil, told local media Monday that efforts are being made to ensure the company’s computer network can safely be reactivated.
“DP World have been working with government to try to resolve this and in ways that will make sure that this does not impact as much as possible on Australians. It does show how vulnerable we have been in this country to cyber incidents,” said O’Neil.
Last year, major health care and telecommunications companies were the victims of two of the most significant data breaches in Australian history.
Research published in November 2022 found that a third of Australian adults had been victims of data breaches in the previous year. A study by the Australian National University showed that cyberattacks were one of the fastest growing types of crime in the country.
The Australian Taxation Office has previously reported that it receives 3 million attempted hacks on its system every month.
The Australian Banking Association said cybercrime was “potentially a significant threat to … national security.”
In April 2023, the government in Canberra enlisted major banks and financial services to take part in ‘wargaming’ exercises to test how they would respond to cyberattacks.