Cosco shipping hit by 'network security problem'

1 August 2018

Cosco shipping has said its systems are fully operational again after an apparent cyber attack took down IT systems in the Americas.

The international shipping company had been experiencing problems since Tuesday with some of its local communications including phones, email services and websites in the US, Canada, Panama, Argentina and Brazil, among other countries in the region.

All services are now running but the firm, owned by the Chinese state, said it was still processing through a backlog of communications.

“We are working at full stretch to process all the service requests received previously, and the service response is expected to be back on track within this week,” it said.

Cosco described the outage as a “network security problem”, which was widely reported to have been caused by a ransomeware attack – a type of cyber attack where the hacker encrypts data on a computer system and charges a ransom for the unlock key. Cosco has not responded to a request to clarify the nature of the outage.

During the outage Cosco published a list of around 80 temporary email addresses, many of them Google or Yahoo accounts, through which some shippers could access services including new bookings, submitting import documentation and sending bills or invoices.

Separately, the US intelligence service warned yesterday hackers were increasingly targeting the tech supply chain.

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