Cyber Attack on HMM Shipping Company: A Deeper Look

Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM), on Saturday, 12th June, confirmed that their global mail servers have been subjected to a cyber attack.

Cyber Attack on HMM Shipping Company
Cyber Attack on HMM Shipping Company

The South Korean shipping giant detected an unidentifiable security breach, where the company’s access to their email outlook system became limited, in certain affected regions. With a swift retaliation by the company’s IT team, they are now able to restore most of the damages caused by the attack.

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The company confirmed, that there have been no trace of data leak, and that except for it’s email servers, all other system networks and functions are fully operational, and are working as usual, thanks to it’s independent cloud based system. The carrier updated it’s customers and agents yesterday, stating that it’s mail servers, except for the ones in America and Europe have been affected by the cyber-attack. For it’s customers, the company stated that their inquiries are not processed via email. Thus, the customers can contact HMM’s local agencies, with other alternative methods, such as phone calls. While in case of shippers, they are being encouraged to mail HMM’s home office, if they’re having problems to contact it’s agents.

All other internet-backed services of the company, such as e-booking systems, documentations, website and more, are running smoothly, without any reported disruptions. The company is currently investigating the cause deeper, to prevent such mishaps in the future.

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After Saturday’s cyber attack, HMM joins the league of Maersk, CMA CGM, MSC, IMO, COSCO and more, who’ve been subjected to such cyber attacks in the past, as the shipping industry continues to be cyber criminals’ new favorite. The number of cyber attacks in the shipping industry have been in a steep rise, in the recent years. Shipping experts rightly refer to cyber attacks in the industry, as the ‘modern form of piracy’.

Some of the most notable cyber attacks in the shipping industry, in recent years are:

  • The famous ‘NotPetya’ malware attack on Maersk, in 2017. It costed the company $300 million in losses.
  • The cyber attack on COSCO (China Ocean Shipping Co.)’s email and telephone system, in 2018. It caused heavy business interruptions to the company.
  • The 2020 malware attack on Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), which had the company’s website and headquarters shut down, for almost a week!
  • The ransomware attack on CMA CGM, in 2020, which affected the company’s servers, and prevented it’s customers from accessing the company’s digital services, including booking.
  • The latest one, being in late 2020, when International Maritime Organization (IMO) was hit by a cyber attack, which affected it’s systems both internally and externally.

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Taking into account, the shipping industry’s increasing dependence on information technology, such vulnerabilities could prove being fatal to the industry. The need for improved cyber resilience is more than ever, in 2021.

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