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Container Ships and Freight Planes Vulnerable to Hacking

The world is now more connected than ever before. This has led to an opportunity for unethical “code warriors” to misuse their craft and ultimately bring container ships and freight planes to a halt with just a few lines of code.

In the past, hackers were only able to attack individual computers or networks. Now with the vast connections of the Internet and Internet-connected devices they can use malware and other malicious techniques to attack critical systems that control entire industries like shipping and logistics. Such a disruption has the potential to impact the entire supply chain worldwide.

This ability has led to an increase in cyber attacks on companies critical to the global supply chain. Container ships and freight planes are now being targeted by these attacks in different ways. Beyond the immediate impact to their data integrity, security, and the delivery of their cargo, larger threats loom that could ultimately force some companies into bankruptcy or crippling stock devaluations.

CNBC covered this topic with some specific examples of such security breaches in their June 27, 2022 article entitled “Hackers can bring ships and planes to a grinding halt. And it could become much more common.”

Key Points Addressed

  • Phishing attacks with “spoof messages” can trick people into handing over sensitive information or downloading harmful software.
  • Goal of attacks is often to encrypt data (via “ransomware”) and then force the payment of a ransom to get the keys to decrypt and access that data again.
  • Another goal is to extract data from the company being attacked.
  • Finally, other bad actors seek access to the system so they can manipulate the movement of containers with that smuggle and/or hide their shipment of illegal substances.
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