Aussie Port Operator Faces Cyber Attack, Cargo Delays Imminent

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By Published On: November 13, 20230 Comments

One of Australia’s largest port freight operators ceased operations over the weekend as cyber attackers pounced.

DP World was forced to cease operations across its Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Fremantle ports on Friday November 10 and across the weekend due to cybersecurity breaches. The port operator, which handles nearly 40 percent of Australia’s maritime freight, reacted to the breach by switching off its internet access which controlled the ability to unload freight. 

“To safeguard our employees, customers, and our networks, we have restricted landside access to our Australian port operations while we continue our investigation,” a spokesperson from DP World said on Saturday. 

DP World alerted authorities once it became aware of the breach and continues to work with the National Cyber Security Coordinator, the Australian Cyber Security Centre, the Australian Federal Police and Ministers for Cyber Security and Transport to resolve the situation. 

As of Monday morning, DP World has confirmed it is back online, but noted in a statement, that “the resumption of port operations does not mean that this incident has concluded. DP World Australia’s investigation and ongoing remediation work are likely to continue for some time.”

As an immediate result of the incident, the company warns they have significantly reduced ability to move cargo across their ports. It has been reported that around 30,000 containers were stacked up in its depots over the weekend. 

“This interruption is likely to continue for a number of days and will impact the movement of goods into and out of the country,” National cyber security co-ordinator Darren Goldie commented on X. 

The breach is set to have a knock on effect for importers and retailers in the all important run up to Black Friday and Christmas. 

Australia’s cyber security coordinator, Air Marshall Darren Goldie, told ABC’s RN Breakfast on Monday that at this stage, the government does not know who was behind the attack, and the focus at the moment was to restore cargo operations.

About the Author: Rosalea Catterson

Rosalea is the Editor of Power Retail. With a keen interest in consumer behaviour and tech, she covers everything ecommerce and hosts the Power Retail Power Talks Podcast.

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