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Ransomware Attack Impacts Over 1,000 Ships From One of World’s Largest Maritime Organizations

DNV GL, one of the world's largest maritime organizations, was hit by ransomware on January 7th, which forced the company to shut down the IT servers connected to their ShipManager system. DNV GL is the world's largest classification society, an organization that manages the technical certifications for the construction and operation of ships and offshore structures.


The company has over 13,175 vessels and mobile offshore units currently serviced by DNV GL, which brought in over $2 billion in revenue in 2021. According to the company, around 1000 vessels have been affected, but it added that all users can still use the onboard, offline functionalities of the ShipManager software.


They also mentioned that there are no indications that any other software or data by DNV is affected and the server outage does not impact any other DNV services. DNV GL is working with Norwegian police and IT security companies to respond to the incident. This attack on DNV GL is the latest in a series of attacks affecting the shipping industry.


Almog Apirion, CEO and Co-Founder of Cyolo, shared his insights on the security threat and what similar organizations can do to keep their data and infrastructure safe:

"In recent years, maritime threats have become increasingly prominent as new naval systems like GPS, satellite communications and remote monitoring solutions are opening greater vulnerabilities in the organizations’ attack surfaces. Only two weeks ago, the third-largest port in Lisbon was hit by a LockBit ransomware attack. As attacks on the maritime industry become more common, the impact on organizations becomes more palpable. With this recent DNV example, we see a clear impact on product availability. However, the effects go beyond, with consequences in economies and if worse comes to worse, even putting human lives and safety at risk.

Maritime shipping routes are a critical part of the global supply chain, so any disruption to the safe movement of goods is an economic crisis the world cannot afford right now. In this context, maritime organizations must examine their security posture and their dependency on and access from software suppliers, more so as many devices on maritime vessels share credentials or use default accounts. As shipping vessels become more digital, securing the software companies use becomes paramount. If this third-party reliance is not controlled and secured properly – whether in port or at sea – it can become a catastrophic problem for maritime shipping companies resulting in major safety and business challenges.”


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